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Public sphere(s) of televised debates in Cameroon : constitution, actors and economy(s) of production


The present work deals with the hypothesis of the constitution of a public sphere with the development of televised debates in Cameroon. It is based on a corpus of 227 issues of Canal Presse and Droit de réponse from 2012 to 2017 and on semi-structured interviews with invited actors and presenters of televised debates. The results obtained reveal that the constitution of a public sphere of Cameroonian televised debates is marked by "competitive-cooperative" logics between heterogeneous social actors, and where the controversy emerges as register of dominant speech which governs the strategies of visibilisation. The results also reflect the dynamics of the occupation of the public sphere of televised debates. On this point, this work shows that the televised debates are formalized around a communication contract which favors the majority/priority access of certain categories of actors, like the journalists, the political operators, the academics, the men of law (lawyers), humanitarian entrepreneurs and civil society. Finally, the results of this work indicate that televised debates are like self-production spaces during which the strategies of legitimation of discourse, the search for legitimacy and the capture of the public are embedded. The originality of this work lies in the surpassing of the Habermasian thesis on the public sphere. This insofar as the Cameroonian public sphere appears as an issue for the communication of the State that uses it to disseminate government information, to send mediators, to normalize the exchanges in a perspective of democratization and popular exchange.

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