TV5Monde CEO Yves Bigot personally apologized to Cameroon’s National Communication Council (CNC) and its citizens on Monday for mistakenly using the wrong flag to represent the country on the international French-language channel.
Following an audience at the CNC headquarters in Yaounde, Bigot acknowledged the error, which occurred during a broadcast of the African Cup of Nations (AFCON) matches summary on January 23.
Indeed, the flag of Ambazonia, a state desired by English-speaking separatists, was used instead of Cameroon’s flag. The mistake, attributed to a “lack of vigilance” in the production chain, sparked outrage in Cameroon. CNC President Joseph Chebongkeng Kalabubsu demanded an explanation from the channel’s management.
Bigot denied any intentional wrongdoing, attributing the error to a series of technical mistakes and oversights. He noted that the flag of Guinea was also incorrectly displayed as that of Guinea-Bissau during the same broadcast.
In addition to his apology, Bigot defended Denise Epoté, TV5Monde’s Director of Distribution, Marketing, and Sales, who has been targeted by a smear campaign since the incident. Bigot stressed that Epoté, a former journalist with Cameroon’s public broadcaster, was not involved in the news production or broadcasting departments. “She has nothing to do with the news department, nor with the broadcasting and production of television news. So, I beg you, stop accusing her or holding her responsible for something [for which] she has nothing to do with,” Bigot pleaded before Cameroonian media.
Bigot and Epoté also met with Minister of Communication René Emmanuel Sadi on Monday. Sadi expressed the government’s indignation at the “serious, unacceptable and intolerable misunderstanding” by TV5Monde. The meeting provided an opportunity for the channel’s management to reiterate its apologies, previously conveyed in a letter to Cameroonian authorities.
Patricia Ngo Ngouem