Dear President Biya: A year ago this week, journalist Germain Cyrille Ngota Ngota died in his cell in Nkondengui prison in the capital Yaoundé while in pre-trial custody on criminal charges based on his activities as the editor of the monthly Cameroon Express. We hold the government responsible for Ngota's death, and we call on you to initiate reforms so that no other Cameroonian journalist is thrown in prison in retaliation for reporting on issues of public interest. We urge you to implement reforms referring press offenses to civil courts, not criminal courts, in line with democracy, transparency and accountability.
New York, April 1, 2011--Using a vague criminal code provision allowing authorities to detain individuals deemed a threat to public order, a provincial governor in Cameroon threw a journalist in prison on Wednesday for inquiring about the arrests of two employees of a state-run palm oil company, according to local journalists.
New York, March 3, 2011--The Committee to Protect Journalists is concerned for the safety of a Cameroonian editor who is being prosecuted in connection with a leaked official document, according to local journalists and news reports.
By Mohamed Keita
Across the continent, the emergence of in-depth reporting and the absence of effective access-to-information laws have set a collision course in which public officials, intent on shielding their activities, are moving aggressively to unmask confidential sources, criminalize the possession of government documents, and retaliate against probing journalists. From Cameroon to Kenya, South Africa to Senegal, government reprisals have resulted in imprisonments, violence, threats, and legal harassment. At least two suspicious deaths--one involving an editor, the other a confidential source--have been reported in the midst of government reprisals against probing news coverage.
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.