For Immediate Release
24 April 2017
Cameroon Convicts Journalist For Covering Terror
Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity strongly and unreservedly condemns the trial, conviction and imprisonment of a journalist on terrorism charges by a military court in Cameroon for reporting on acts of terror.
Ahmed Abba, a reporter with Radio France International’s (RFI) Hausa service was convicted on charges including the “non-denunciation of terrorism”, according to RFI. Abba has been jailed since July 2015 in relation to his coverage of extremist group Boko Haram and could face the death penalty.
Africans Rising is outraged at this travesty of justice and the outright violation of the right of journalists to report on events, in the public’s interest, honestly and without fear. We demand that the Cameroonian authorities not contest Abba’s appeal of the conviction and release him immediately, and to respect the freedom of the press, enshrined in its constitution and international law.
Said Muhammed Lamin Saidykhan, Africans Rising Coordinator: “It is totally reprehensible that government can imprison a reporter and try and convict him of terrorism in a military court, simply for doing his job reporting on terror.”
“This not only violates one of the pillars of a democracy – freedom of the press – but is just the latest case in an unacceptable trend of media repression by the state in Cameroon.”
Abba’s case is one of more than a dozen others where the Cameroonian authorities target journalists and media organisations for arrest, detention, harassment, prosecution, operational restrictions and media house closures in recent months. Most of these acts of repression are related to ongoing conflict over protests and a responding security crackdown in the Anglophone regions of the country.
Africans Rising reported on the impact of this media repression in its report on its fact-finding mission to Cameroon in February 2017.
In a statement, Robert Mahoney, Deputy Director of The Committee to Protect Journalists, an international media freedom watchdog, said: “Covering terrorism as a reporter must not be equated with committing acts of terror.”
For more information, contact:
+27 63 567 9719
Muhammed Lamin Saidykhan
+220 988 4761 / +220 688 4761