The Committee to Protect Journalists has condemned the intimidation and harassment of Cameroonian journalists by government.
The Africa Program Coordinator of CPJ, Angela Quintal took on Twitter to call for the immediate and unconditional release of five journalists who are still languishing in jail for doing their job.
Amongst the Journalists in jail are Michel Biem Tom, Elvis McCarthy, Thomas Awah Junior, and Mancho Bibixy.
Angela Quintal said press freedom is still a farce in Cameroon “Thankfully, he was released, yet 5 journalists still remain in jail in #Cameroon for their work. The continued intimidation, censorship & harassment of journalists in #Cameroon is not simply about the right to media freedom, but the citizens’ right to know. #FreeThePress,” she tweeted after, the release of Mathias Mouende Ngamo, Journalist with Le Jour Newspaper, arrested on October 27th while covering the pacific walk, organised by CRM party.
Her outing came after two journalists; Josiane Kouagheu and Mathias Mouende Ngamo, were arrested and molested while covering the peaceful Anti-Biya protest of the Cameroon Renaissance Movement party in Douala.
The release of Josiane Kouagheu and Mathias Mouende Ngamo evocked old memories of how journalists in the conflict hit North West and South West were arrested and immediately ferried to dungeon detention centres in Yaoundé.
They advanced that journalists arrested in Bamenda, Buea or Kumba are accused of terrorism and immediately taken to the Kondengui Prison in Yaounde.
“The release of our French speaking colleagues is a good thing…but, the happiness cannot be complete when other colleagues are still in jail for crimes they did not commit… It’s only the beginning, that’s how journalists in Anglophone regions have been treated for more than three years now by Cameroonian security forces…,” Elie Smith said in a tweet.
“I doubt if the release would have been immediate if the Journalists were English-Speaking. We cannot easily forget the memories of journalists being chained from the North West and South West Regions and taken to detention facilities in Yaoundé. We must see fairness in this country. If we pride ourselves as a democracy, we must respect basic freedoms as the freedom of the press. It is a totalitarian practice to clamp down on the press. Let all journalists in detention be released as proof of our democratic civility,” Tilarious Atia, Editor at The Sun Newspaper reacted.