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Dear President Biya: We are writing to express our alarm at the harassment and abuse of at least a dozen journalists in Cameroon. These reporters each raised questions about your administration’s management of public finances, the progress of an anti-corruption drive dubbed Operation Sparrowhawk, and local government affairs. We call on you to hold members of the administration accountable for using security forces and criminal laws to settle scores with the media. We further urge you to initiate reforms that would refer matters of defamation to civil courts.
New York, December 29, 2009—A Cameroonian newspaper editor, jailed this month after publishing a book excerpt that alleged sexual activities by President Paul Biya, was convicted on Monday of “insulting the head of state.”
New York, December 15, 2009—The managing editor of a private newspaper in Cameroon has been held in police custody since Thursday, accused of insulting President Paul Biya, according to local journalists and news reports. Managing Editor Jean-Bosco Talla, at left, of the weekly Germinal was picked up by police in the capital, Yaoundé, on Thursday and taken to the State Secretariat for Defense, headquarters…
Dear President Biya: We are very concerned about an ongoing pattern of abuses against press freedom in Cameroon. In particular, we are alarmed by recent death threats against an editor, the recent prosecution of two others by a military tribunal, and the lengthy imprisonments of another two on libel charges. We call on you to use your influence to end practices that are undermining the free flow of information.
Cameroon’s diverse news media, among the most vibrant in Africa, operated under significant pressure. Influential political leaders used threats, regulatory action, and judicial harassment to censor critical coverage of national affairs, including a controversial constitutional amendment allowing President Paul Biya to seek re-election in 2011, public protests over inflation, and a series of high-profile corruption…
Dear President Biya: We are writing to express our alarm that four newspaper editors have been jailed in Cameroon for their work since September–making your country the second-worst jailer of journalists in Africa, according to our research.