Sunday, May 15, 2016

Jean Claude Kakou: Profile a star journalist and presenter

Jean Claude Kakou: he is a star journalist and presenter working for the state owned Tele Congo, the national Television station also known as Tele fou-fou.  Congolese refer to their national television as Tele fou-fou, because it spends time broadcasting reports or propaganda on the President, his family and the government and little or no presence of contradictions. Unfortunately, Congolese are not the only ones who give very little consideration to their state broadcaster. In neighbouring Cameroon, its national broadcaster, CRTV is referred to as “good news media”. Jean Claude Kakou along with Joseph Bitala Bitemo is the few Congolese journalists trained in Western Europe precisely in France in the profession of journalism. Hence their professional output, which might be pro-governmental or judged one-sided is very different from a majority of Congolese journalists who trained in Cuba, former USSR or in other former Communist countries wherein they studied press and propaganda. Because of his professionalism has inspired most Congolese to opt for the journalism profession. For his style of presentation according to George Eboue, is similar to that of French TV anchor, Yves Mourousi. Late Mourousi was the midday anchor on TF1 from 1975 to 1988. As for George Eboue, he is a retired journalist who has worked with the sport service of the national broadcaster and who knew Jean Claude Kakou when he first to work for the state broadcaster as an intern. Although Jean Claude Kakou is a professional, the reproach made against him by most Congolese is that, he is no more practicing journalism.

He is instead working as a propagandist of the regime. Even though trained in France, my question that I have always asked is this: if a journalist, can no longer or doesn’t practice, the basic rule of journalism and is one-sided, can he or she be described as a professional? In my opinion, the answer is an emphatic No! However, to the discharge of Jean Claude Kakou, in a violent dictatorship like that of Congo, professional journalists have only two options: conciliate professionalism with survival instinct or practice pure professionalism at your risk and peril. This simply means that, for all the one-sided or imbalance reporting or programmes that, Jean Claude Kakou presents on Tele Congo: it doesn’t take away the fact that, he is a professional. His only problem is that, there is no enabling environment for him to practice his profession.  Jean Claude Kakou was once a considered as pariah by the current regime because of his support of the government of Pascal Lissouba. Now he seems to have been rehabilitated.  Even though he has been accepted  and he is now working at the national television station and producing and presenting only programmes that glorifies President Sassou Nguesso and his government, he is still hated by some members the regime for having supported the regime of Pascal Lissouba. While the government might hate him or look at him with suspicions, he also doesn’t hold the regime with any esteem. He works for them simply because he has no alternative.

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