Journalists detained during investigative reporting

Journalists detained during investigative reporting

FEBRUARY 10, 2008
Posted February 27, 2008
Jean Bosco Talla, Le FrontIMPRISONED, LEGAL
Hervé Kemete, Le FrontHARASSED, LEGAL

Director Talla and reporter Kemete of the biweekly Le Front, a private newspaper based in the commercial city of Douala, were detained by police in the southern town of Zoétélé while working on an investigative story about the wealth of top government officials there, according to the Cameroon Journalists’ Trade Union and local news reports.

Government supporters intercepted Talla and Kemete on their way to report on the private luxury residences of top dignitaries in Zoétélé in the Dja and Lobo Department, the home province of President Paul Biya, according to press reports.

Police held Talla for five days and Kemete for a day, Le Front President Peter William Mandio told CPJ, but in separate complaints, Defense Minister Rémy Ze Meka and former Finance Minister Polycarpe Abah Abah pressed criminal charges against the journalists, respectively spying and “attempted burglary,” Mandio said.

Talla and Kemete had not officially been charged and were free pending a hearing of their case at a court in the Dja and Lobo Department capital of Sangmélima, defense lawyer Jules Binyom told CPJ.