Stanislas Désiré Tchoua, who owns three media outlets, was sentenced in August 2023 to one year in prison for defamation over a critical article he published about a lawmaker with Cameroon’s ruling party. He faces a further four years’ imprisonment if he fails to pay a fine of 5 million Central African francs (US$8,086). Tchoua has appealed the conviction. He suffers from a lung condition and his health has worsened in Kondengui Central Prison in the capital, Yaoundé.
Tchoua is publishing director and owner of the newspapers 100Sur Hebdo and L’Albatros, which report on politics, and of Impact Magazine, according to CPJ’s review and Gérard Aimé Ayangma Yong, assistant manager at Impact Magazine, who spoke with CPJ.
On December 8, 2022, Jean Claude Feutheu, a businessman and member of parliament for the ruling Cameroon People’s Democratic Movement filed a police complaint against Tchoua for damaging his image and honor by posting the front page of the November edition of 100Sur Hebdo on Facebook, according to court documents reviewed by CPJ and media reports.
That edition of 100Sur Hedbo included an article which was critical of Feutheu’s speech during a political event in the town of Tonga, in the Western Region, according to CPJ’s review.
On December 28, 2022, Tchoua was summoned to the Central Regional Police Division in the capital, Yaoundé, for questioning and arrested according to a person familiar with the case, who spoke to CPJ on the condition of anonymity citing fear of reprisals.
On December 29, 2022, Tchoua was charged with defamation and insult by electronic means for his Facebook post, that person said.
On August 17, 2023, the Yaoundé Court of First Instance found Tchoua guilty and sentenced him to one year in prison and ordered him to pay a fine of 5 million Central African francs (US$8,086) or face an additional four years’ imprisonment, according to CPJ’s review of court documents.
On September 20, 2023, Tchoua appealed his conviction but as of late 2023, no court date had been set, according to the person familiar with the case.
Yong described Tchoua as being in “poor health.” Tchoua suffers from a lung condition which makes it hard for him to breathe, according to a person with knowledge of the case, who spoke to CPJ on condition of anonymity, citing fear of reprisals. Tchoua’s health has worsened in prison, according to news reports.
On October 26, Denis Omgba Bomba, head of the Communication Ministry’s National Media Observatory told CPJ that the ministry was concerned about Tchoua’s imprisonment and poor health and had proposed mediation with Feutheu to secure his release but had not been successful.
As of late 2023, CPJ’s calls and messages to Feutheu did not receive a respons