CPJ urges Cameroon to end abusive detention of JournalistsApril 23, 2011
In a letter to Cameroon’s President Paul Biya, CPJ said the reforms should guarantee journalists’ ability to report on issues of public interest without fear of reprisal.
The media watchdog group’s letter to President Biya Friday coincided with the 1st anniversary of the death of a local journalist in pre-trial detention for reporting on corruption allegations.
"CPJ urged Biya in the letter to end the practice of abusive detentions and criminal prosecutions that allow for settling scores with critical or probing journalists."
"The organization also called for a reform of the criminal code so that defamation, libel, and press offenses are adjudicated by civil courts. In the interest of public accountability, transparency, and democracy, we call on you to take all necessary steps to hold to account officials and security services who abuse their authority in reprisals against their critics in the press,” said the CPJ press statement.
The New York based group says it holds the Cameroonian government responsible for the death of Germain Cyrille Ngota Ngota, a probing editor with the monthly Cameroon Express, who perished in prison on April 22, 2010,
The Journalist reportedly died due to lack of medical attention, despite repeated requests for help and CPJ is demanding a probe into the case.
"Unfortunately, Ngota’s case is part of a broader climate of repression for reporting that sheds light on the management of public resources. Earlier this month, a provincial governor in Cameroon had a journalist detained after he made routine inquiries about the arrests of two employees at the state-run palm oil company. The authorities later said the reporter had been detained for his own protection. Authorities also banned a newspaper amid legal harassment of journalists investigating public corruption. With a score of 2.2 out of 10 Cameroon’s public sector is ranked as highly corrupt on Transparency International’s index," the CPJ statement concluded.Tweet