The persecution of journalists across the world has seen a sharp increase in recent years. Many journalists are harassed, intimidated, imprisoned, and even killed. The situation is precarious for those working in oppressive systems such as Cameroon. During such dark moments in the life of every journalist, solidarity is often the most powerful motivating factor, to keep them going. Knowing that others will come to their defence is what has kept many journalists focused on doing their jobs, without counting the costs.
As we celebrate World Press Freedom Day today, it is important we also give a shout out to one of the persons who has been unwavering in her defence of journalists who are facing persecution.
There is so much one can say about Angela Quintal, but it is best we hear from some of the journalists whose lives and careers, she has been instrumental in preserving.
“Angela Quintal’s commitment to the protection journalists is remarkable”
Cameroonian journalist, Comfort Mussa pays a glowing tribute to CPJ’s Angela Quintal, describing her “commitment to the protection journalists is remarkable.”
Her words: “She has consistently supported journalists in Cameroon especially those who have been victimized or persecuted because of their work. On this World Press Freedom Day, I pay tribute to journalists like Angela Quinta fighting for the rights & protection of journalists in Africa.”
Quintal is a Press Freedom monument – Tilarious Atia, former Editor, The SUN Newspaper
Tilarious Atia, erstwhile editor at The SUN Newspaper in Cameroon describes Angela as a “press freedom monument”.
After spending no fewer than seven months in detention on trumped up charges, Tilarious thanks Angela and CPJ for the role in securing his freedom.
“Angela is a press freedom monument. She works so hard to ensure that journalists disseminate information for the public good without hiccups. She is a true advocate for press freedom. When I was in chains, she was there for me,” says Tilarious.
I see a Mimi Mefo in Angela – Nfor Hanson Nchanji, Former Editor at Equinoxe Television
Prince Nfor Hanson Nchanji, Former Editor at Equinoxe Television says Angela knows no sleep when journalists’ rights are violated and/or abused.
“Angela is just amazing. I can’t start talking about her now because I will write a book. Being someone who was close to the Journalists’ trade union in Cameroon, I have interacted with Angela on many occasions. She will send you a message at night and sometimes I ask myself if she doesn’t sleep! She has been very instrumental in guaranteeing the freedom of many Anglophone journalists incarcerated in Cameroon,” Nfor says. “I also know that sometimes the CPJ gives financial support. This is enormous. All I can say is that Angela should continue with this fighting spirit. I see in her a Mimi Mefo. The message is that she should not retire without a successor.”
Angela Quintal embodies hope for journalism – Wawa Jackson Nfor, Freelance Reporter
“I came to know Angela Quintal, the Africa Programs Coordinator at New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) when I was illegally arrested and detained in a prison in Nkambe-Cameroon from 15th May 2018 to 19th February 2021 for doing my work as a journalist. She investigated and brought my helpless situation to the limelight.
“Following CPJ’s intervention I became her responsibility. She ensured that I got all the necessary support needed to pull me out of injustice. She was regularly in communication with me, my family, my counsel, colleagues and friends to be sure that I was in good shape.
“Her concern was immeasurable. She worked day and night, even while on vacation to ensure that i got the financial assistance necessary for my upkeep not leaving out empowering my counsel, engaging other stakeholders, petitioning the government and leading advocacy campaigns to secure my freedom.
“Behold, her tireless efforts materialised on the 19th February 2021following a court judgement releasing me from detention. The joy and happiness expressed by Angela in response to my release left me with one impression, ‘she is a passionate believer in not only press freedom but the freedom of pressmen and women’.
“On this World Press Freedom, I celebrate Angela Quintal in a very special way. She is an exceptional woman, a passionate defender of press freedom, a fighter with a cause who is fearless, steadfast and determined to see that journalists practice without harassment and intimidation.
“If you have had any encounter with this one-in-a-million woman, nothing will ever make you to think of quitting journalism practice, not even the barrel of the gun. She embodies hope and inspiration.
“Angela, the press in Cameroon needs you more than ever. Keep up the good work. It is our prayer that someday intimidation, harassment, and imprisoning of journalists will be a thing of the past in Cameroon, Africa and the world at large.”
Angela Quintal is a journalism pillar – Laarry Uchenna
“Angel Quintal has unique qualities for humanity and not just humanity but for the journalism profession and for her job being an activist, advocate for journalists and not just journalists, but journalists in Africa.
“She has been there relentlessly fighting to see that journalists have that freedom of speech. She is one of those women I admire from the global perspective and of course Cameroonian perspective. She is one of those women that have hit the table and said there are a lot of things going on in the country which are not correct.
“Angela has been there for me personally when I was kidnapped. She fought so hard, she took to her twitter account, Facebook page and other platforms just to see that I was freed when I was taken by Ambazonian fighters. Not just me, we are talking about other journalists.
“Recently we had Wawa Jackson whom she was fighting relentlessly to see that he regained his freedom. Today he has actually regained his freedom thanks to this advocacy fight she has been pulling a long from the top to bottom and bottom to top.
“I want to say that Angela Quintal is actually a woman with supedipety, a woman with deep heart congruent and a woman with the strength of a mother, strength of a fighter and the strength of a nation builder. All she wants is to see that there is freedom of speech. You can bear with me that recently there have been so many things happening in the country and she has always been there to echo them so that things can come back to normal.
“I want to say that Angela remains a pillar of journalism, a pillar of freedom of speech and a pillar in the fight against the injustices that Cameroonian journalists do face. So, I am grateful for her and pray that God gives her the strength to continue doing that which she has been doing from the onset.
These tributes to Angela are also extended to the many men and women who work tirelessly to protect and defend press freedom across the world. To you all, we are eternally grateful.
Mimi Mefo Takambou