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Australia denies Cameroonian journalist visa over suspicion she would illegally overstay

SBS | Home Affairs officials believed the Cameroonian journalist did not have enough incentive to return to Germany where she works.

A Cameroonian journalist has accused Australia of trying to silence her after she was refused a visa to come to the country to speak at a press freedom event.

Mimi Mefo, an award-winning journalist working for German media outlet Deutsche Welle, was denied a visa on the grounds that she may try to stay illegally.

In correspondence sent to Ms Mefo, Home Affairs Department officials said they were “not satisfied that the applicant’s employment and financial situation provide an incentive to return following his (sic) stay in Australia or to abide by the conditions to which the visa would be subject”.

Ms Mefo was due to give a keynote address at Griffith University’s Integrity 20 conference on Friday.

Integrity 20 chair Susan Forde said Ms Mefo was insulted by the suggestion that she would not return to a job that she loves and believed she had been judged on the basis of her nationality.

“We’re certainly very concerned that there seems to be a sense that if somebody from a country such as Cameroon comes to Australia that they will automatically want to stay or will abscond once they’re here,” she said.

“Someone like Mimi is really quite insulted by that suggestion.”

Ms Mefo expressed her frustration after an appeal to the initial rejection failed to have the “insane” decision overturned.

“For some insane reason, [Australia’s Ambassador to Germany’s] team think that Australia is heaven where I will abandon my job in Germany, disappoint everyone at the AIJC in South Africa, just to remain there illegally,” she tweeted.

“I guess there are many ways to attempt silencing.”

Ms Mefo had flights booked from Australia to South Africa after the Brisbane conference to deliver a prestigious lecture at an investigative journalism conference alongside Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz.

Mimi Mefo won this year’s Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Award.
Index on Censorship

She was jailed in Cameroon last year for reporting allegations of military involvement in the death of an American missionary and only released four days later following national and international pressure.

In July, she travelled to the United Kingdom as a guest of the British government to attend a major global conference on media freedom.

“She’s really quite an inspiration and a very brave woman and that’s why we wanted her and it’s just such a shame the Australian public won’t have access to her,” Ms Forde said.

Index on Censorship, a London-based organisation which campaigns for free expression, condemned the Australian decision.

“Denying visas to journalists who have faced oppression and censorship in their own countries simply emboldens the oppressor,” Index on Censorship chief executive Jodie Ginsberg said.

“It is frankly insulting and belittling to suggest Mimi Mefo would use the opportunity of this keynote to seek asylum in Australia.”

A Home Affairs spokesperson refused to comment on Ms Mefo’s case, but provided the following comment on visa decisions:

“The decision-maker must be satisfied that health, character, security and genuine temporary entry and stay requirements are met in order to grant a visa.”

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22 comments

  1. Just thinking, that Australia believes and is afraid france will bully on behalf of Biya.
    But that decision, will never stop Mimi, from growing to the top. It only emboldens
    her and opens more doors.
    Australia, is a coward. It allowed Julian Assange, to be tossed around like a balloon in the
    wind. So sad.

    • It’s difficult to understand these things. This is just an emotional response that will change nothing.
      Australia has the full right to refuse a visa to any Person of her choice.
      You definitely need to know the consequences of your actions and be prepared to pay the Price when you risk. You do not need to prove though in th eyes that will not rescure you. This is just what happened with Julian Assange. From the current Situation and the expected final results, you should definitely know who is or was a Coward.
      He will finally land in the US. I am sure you know where your powers end. Fact is, he miscalculated and should be regrating today.

  2. DeutscheWelle should man up and take the challenge, not its employee!!!

  3. This Austrialian Embassy is really something else.Those who overstayed were the runaway olympic participants from Lrp. Someone like MImi wouldn,t anything to bring down her reputation by staying illegal in a country, The Australian embassy has a hidden agenda behind refusing her a visa.Just because franco cameroonese ran away from the olympic games in Australia, doesn,t apply a descent lady like mimi mefo will do the same.

    • Welcome to white man democratic world with you black amba asss

    • She’s probably a covert Kamto fan, Australia must have been hinted by Etoudi not to dare…

      • It’s very simple she’s not God that u people will be making too much noise bc she’s been denied visa, she must fulfill the all the requirements necessary inorder to get a visa, being a jurnalist does not make her a super human that people will make much noise bc she’s denied entery into another man’s country, many people are being denied visas on daily basis for entering into many countries, Cameroon herself have refused visas to many people from entering cameroon and worse of it the cameroon government have placed a BAN to many Cameroonians from settinng their feets in Cameroon and u people don’t talk about that and u are here ranting about one person, if Cameroon government can not respect their journalists who do u expect to respect them?, just sit quiet than posting this rubbish

      • Who is etudi to order the Australian officials if I may ask? So u think the Australian govt could be afraid of one like that blood sucker

  4. Ridiculous,,the main reason of her trip is to educate a wider audience,she’s won enough prizes for it.she should however anyway , do a sattellite live interview from wherever she is so that Australians public can hear her lecture anyway and the newspaper should team up with the Australian newspapers that also believe in freedom of the press to publish exactly what she said with the reason why the office refused her, in yellow at the bottom..

    • This girl is a fraud, a bitch and criminal. She thinks she can just manipulate herself into any country in the world. She should be lamenting in jail now in Cameroon but the government has been very nice to her. Her amba propaganda has been watched all over the world and the international community has taken note of her.

  5. Australia has the right to do whatever they want with the country ” who cares about her ”

    just the fact a low-class press hire you meaning you have the audacity to travel whatever countries you wants ” traitor”.

    no one will sponsor her lol

    • Q) “Who cares about her”
      A) Her creator

      • Ha, he is back – the dull fellow. The kind, biya is proud about to produce
        in 39 years of rulership.

        • @Joshua bro he is really back I guess this time from the pit of hell.I thought my boys have taken care of his sorry self

        • [email protected],

          No be Bam’daboy na Anglo, how you turn-turn finish yi so? Abeg no mekam meik @L’enemi yi cam around the write-up—yi go chakara place witi charging.

          Ashia ya Mimi!…

    • This is the most absurd and stupid 3 ever about a highly reputable journalist like Mimi. It is either backed by jealousy or from a La Republique agent.

      This is the most absurd and stupid 3 ever about a highly reputable journalist like Mimi. It is either backed by jealousy or from a La Republique agent.

  6. Enongene pascal mbi

    This white is ok Mimi that how I was refuse entry to Cyprus to go and study since they realist that am from Cameroon southwest region they thing i might go to south Cyprus to ask for asylum after I have paid a million France on school fees I was sent back for no cause. This people are so hardles I even pleaded show them my valid degree but they still sent me back

    • Bro it’s a pity that you went through this Hope you will have another blessed opportunity somewhere.
      Until Africans realise that they must try to operate as one or at least together, we will never be free from the Hands of the White.
      We have to stop fighting stupid wars that simply ruin our lives for the interest of the west. We need to Change the way we think.

  7. When Anglophones claim an “Anglophone” heritage you say Africans laying claim to colonial heritage. What is Jean Yves le Drian doing in Cameroon? He now wants to have a dialogue with anglophones? Hahahahaha. Laugh nogo kill person.

  8. All governments are prone to make mistakes in past, present or future,its normal.
    silencing the messenger in any degree is abominable and this way , partiualy relevant on the part of the Australian diplomatic missions.its genuinely insulting to tax paying Australian citizens ,and the German governments system of naturally allowing Deutsche Welle to employ Mimi Mefo which has obvious posative wider connotations
    she could be talking about Donald Duck and the way he runs a country for all I care. The mistake was made and the future generation of Australians will be disappointed that this happened when looking to attending home universities that do ( but now there’s a big question mark on this ) promote free speech .If the country dosnt allow forigen speakers in ….then why teach it .

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