Cameroon Imprisoning Journalists

A growing number of journalists are being imprisoned by the Cameroonian government for reporting on the de facto civil war between the Francophone government and Anglophone separatists in the country.

At least five journalists are still in custody. Hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced in Cameroon’s Anglophone regions amid allegations of human rights violations. The government fears bad press will disrupt its security relationship with the United States, and get their funding cut off. Most recently the government has targeted Mimi Mefo a TV presenter for her critical reporting.

The Committee to Protect Journalist’s (CPJ) Africa program coordinator said, “By summoning Mimi Mefo, Cameroonian authorities send a chilling message to the country’s media community,” “Over the last year, Cameroonian journalists have been repeatedly summoned simply for doing their work. In many instances, these summons resulted in detentions. This pattern of intimidation must end.”

Cameroon regularly arrests journalists for reporting on unrest in the country, before Mimi Mefo, the last journalist was editor Michel Biem Tong, who was summoned and detained on October 23. Tong had published articles criticizing the government’s handling of the grievances from Anglophone Cameroonians in the run-up to presidential elections on October 7, according to a friend of the journalist who spoke to CPJ on condition of anonymity for fear of reprisal.



Photo: “160316-G-ZZ999-008” by Commander, U.S. Naval Forces Europe-Africa/U.S. 6th Fleet is in the Public Domain

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