- Cameroonian journalists have found themselves caught up in crisis during and after street protests against rising fuel prices, cost of living and President Biya's attempts to butcher the constitution to run for yet another term in office.
A number of journalists have become victims of state-sponsored attacks, the latest being the detention incommunicado of a newspaper publisher.
Media rights activists accused Cameroonian government of using protests to stem its crackdown on independent media.
The publisher of 'La Nouvelle Presse' weekly, Jacques Blaise Mvié was on Monday arrested by military officers on the orders of Defence Minister, Rémy Ze Meka. La Nouvelle Presse had earlier published an article on 27 February, accusing Ze Meka of being involved in an alleged coup attempt last September resulting to arrest of several soldiers.
Mvié's whereabouts are still not known. His arrest followed several cases of reported physical violent attacks against journalists covering the street protests.
“The protests against cost of living increases are beginning to take a heavy toll on the media,” Reporters sans frontières alerted Cameroonian authorities.
“President Paul Biya and his associates seem to be ready to resort to anything to ensure their political future, including arbitrary arrests of journalists. As Cameroon is supposed to respect the rule of law, there can be no grounds for holding Mvié incommunicado and he should freed at once.”
Journalists covering the street protests in the commercial capital Douala were physically attacked by security forces. A cameraman of Canal 2 International TV station, Eric Golf Kouatchou, was not only beaten and briefly detained by security forces, his camera was also destroyed. He paid CFA 56,000 before being released on bail.
Security forces have also attacked several journalists, including the deputy editor of the daily 'La Nouvelle Expression', Patient Ebwele.
Cameroonian authorities had earlier ordered the closure of 'Equinoxe TV', 'Radio Equinoxe' and 'Magic FM.'
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