Cameroon has been ranked as the second worst jailer of journalists in sub-Saharan Africa with 7 journalists behind bars, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said Thursday.
According to CPJ, Cameroon comes only behind Eritrea, ranked first. The CPJ report notes that most of the journalists detained in Cameroon are facing charges linked to false news, fake news, to news that endanger the state security.
It equally said reporting the various crises in Cameroon has become a hideous task in Cameroon.
The government continuously accuse journalists of reporting news that endanger the security and territorial integrity of the state. Hence, many have been arrested and jailed in maximum security prisons.
On November 7, 2018, the government ordered for the detention of firebrand journalist, Mimi Mefo. She was accused of cyber-crimes, publishing false news, and endangering state security. She was eventually released two days after the government was mounted pressure from within and without.
Another journalist, Michel Biem Tong, is currently incarcerated at a maximum-security prison in Yaounde, over allegations that he aired information that endangers the security of the state. He is being judged in the military court, using the 2015 anti-terrorism law.
Other journalists like Elvis McCarthy, Mancho Bibixy, Thomas Awah Junior, Michael Dopass are jailed in the Northwest Region, and in the Kondengui maximum security prison, on crimes linked to the Anglophone crisis, or the Boko Haram insurgency.
Many others have faced summary arrest, torture, and detention.
Besides, the physical brutality and intimidation meted on journalist by the government of Cameroon, the psychological torture through warnings, and censorship, only go a long way to exacerbate the already bad situation. Many journalists feel scared reporting facts, and the truth according to CPJ as the government imposes various draconian measures to impede the smooth running of journalists.
Going by the CPJ, such pressure mounted on journalists, only make them unable to report on many of the happenings in the country, hence, leading to the under reporting of many events in the country.