Cameroon: Civil war is fueling the decline of press freedom
Journalist has to answer to military court (Press Release)
On Monday, the Göttingen-based human rights organization Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) warned that the civil war in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon is fueling the decline of press freedom in the country. "It is wrong to criminalize or muzzle journalists simply because for taking their job seriously and reporting about the civil war," stated Ulrich Delius, the STP's director. Today, Mimi Mefo Takambou, Vice Director of the private television station Equinoxe Television, will have to answer to a military court in Douala. After sharing a message via social media, she is accused of spreading false rumors and calling for a rebellion against the state.
According to the human rights organization, the allegations are to be seen as a gratuitous attempt to intimidate journalists in order to prevent independent media coverage of the escalating violence in the country. The journalist had shared a tweet stating that, on October 30, 2018, an American missionary had been killed by regular soldiers – and not by separatists from the Anglophone regions, as had been claimed. The death circumstances of the US citizen have not yet been fully clarified. Still, the STP emphasized that the sharing of such a Tweet could in no case justify an indictment before a military court.
Mimi Mefo was arrested last Wednesday. After Cameroon's journalists had threatened to boycott the government, she was released on Saturday. Instead of trying to silence journalists, Cameroon's government should finally work towards a political solution to the dispute over the future of the English-speaking areas, the STP demanded. The conflict has escalated since the year 2016, and more than 300,000 people were forced to flee from violence.
Header image: alvise forcellini via Flickr