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Cameroon journalist moved to ‘dread’ New Bell prison

The East African (press release) | Cameroonian authorities have moved Ms Mimi Mefo, the journalist at privately-owned Equinoxe television and radio, to the dread New Bell prison in the commercial capital Douala, her employer confirmed.

The Equinoxe TV announced Thursday morning that Ms Mefo spent her first night at the Douala jail on Wednesday.

Ms Mefo is accused of propagating false news that jeopardises state security and of committing cyber crimes.

Her lawyer Alice Nkom said the journalist was handcuffed and escorted to New Bell prison after over eight hours of questioning at the military court in Douala Wednesday.

Remains elusive

Individuals and groups, including the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), the Cameroon Journalists Trade Union (SNJC) and the Cameroon Association of English Speaking Journalists (CAMASEJ), have condemned Ms Mefo’s continued confinement and called on authorities to immediately free her and allow her to do her job without fear.

The Cameroonian constitution guarantees the freedom of expression, and the country boasts of some 500 newspapers and 100 radio and television stations. However, genuine freedom of expression remains elusive, as the law gives officials the power to ban newspapers based on a claimed threat to public order. Defamation remains a criminal offence.

Widely criticised

The deteriorating security situation in the north and east, high youth unemployment and aging political leadership, since 2014 have conspired to hand the government the excuse to restrict journalists’ space.

Several of them have been arrested and detained, with some being targeted for critical reporting on topics including the health of the president and alleged embezzlement by government officials.

President Paul Biya signed a sweeping new antiterrorism law, a move widely criticised by the opposition, media, and civil society groups.

Of particular concern was the vagueness in the definition of “acts of terrorism”, which critics alleged left room for abuse to stifle independent thinking and dissent.

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56 comments

  1. this is total madness..
    Biya – you can do this open eye to francophones but not to southern cameroonians..
    Scraping is not an option..
    Using the military is not an option..
    Lets use brains, treat our people with respect..
    This old methods of brutalizing people for saying the truth is not common with Anglophones..
    We are a people that like to ask questions…

    • Even in an extremely liberal country like Sweden, there are limitations about what you are allowed to say!

      By the way, I didn’t know that a person can be a Francophone, Bamileke, and yet still be an Anglophone!

      • @RAS:- do you want to understand the action of the Government?
        So when a swedish Journalist criticizes the government, he or she is taken to Jail..?..
        @RAS: you are a smart man from your contribution I read in this forum even if we dont agree..One thing should be clear here:- we shouldnt support this type of action..Our country is being damaged by a group of irresponsible individuals..
        They cant be using force on their people, terrorizing, brutalizing and introducing a reign of terror in 2018..These people have plundered the economy, rendered youths jobless, brought the economy to a stand-still and are only enriching themselves..
        Seems like you have a family in the govt in yaounde..Even if you do, this should not be a reason to accaept or support such forms of oppression..

      • Biko,

        Well, like I have always said, unfamiliarity with things is what plunges people into trouble. It is one thing to be a news reporter, and a completely different thing being a propagandist. Moreover, sensational news reports are often not to be taken seriously, and they could land the reporter in deep trouble even in Sweden. For your pleasure, Sweden is perhaps among the most dangerous places to run your mouth carelessly… and so they have something they call LAGOM here, which simply means MODERATION. A Swedish journalist is the most careful reporter because court cases are very common.

        You see what is happening to this inexperienced fellow, Eric Tataw who calls himself senior journalist?!!!! He dessiminated wrong news, now he is in trouble.

        As for jobs, question the universities.

        • I often wonder where this Tuge gets his ideas from. Usually, I’d read comments only. I understand the diverse opinions but his posts come with such frequent gibberish that one has to ponder what informs his judgement and what governs his thinking.
          Dude, take some time and collect yourself. Make your point and leave it at that. No doubt, there are others here with crude ideas but man yours are extraneously preposterous.

        • Unless you are able to state exactly what your contention is with respect to my comment, your comment is total nonsense, my friend. When you express yourself with such obscurity, you will never get your curiousity satisfied. You have a choices: run your mouth; ask questions; or give an alternative opinion. But do not expect me to help you understand things in life, I don’t get paid for your insolence.

        • ‘you have choices’

      • Anglophone simply mean english speaking regardless of tribe. Nigerians or Liberians are anglophones as well.

        • So why are those folks in Cameroon the ONLY ones that insist on being called ‘Anglophones’?

        • New Day,so if Macron speaks English ,it means he is an anglophone or if a Nigerian speaks French,he is a francophone. You got it all wrong man.
          They call that lady Anglophone because they hate us.To them it’s like an insults to us “Les Anglo la”. We really need to leave these guys,honestly.

        • @Gentlemanity, if Macron carried out his education in English he would be anglophone. Havent you heard of Anglo Bami et Bassa?

      • Wow, is there a time when you’ll become reasonable? Is that all of you? How pathetic!!

      • This Ras Tuge guy has no faculties? How can someone be so wrong-headed? His faculties and feelings get so easily exercised? Unbridled and self-deluding? It’s pathetic, you have to feel sorry for him.

        • I agree! But why are you posting comments under different names? Are you getting a little excited? Answer questions and stop running your mouth!

      • So when you bear a Bamilike name, you are automatically Francophone? So many Bamilikes are born and raised in either the North West or Southwest regions. Some don’t even speak French. Where do you put them. Also, don’t give the Swedes a liberal stigma. Wait till you try immigrating there and you will be amazed at their conservatism. Biya is losing the war and is turning his attention on anything that speaks English and does not look Ewondo or Bulu. First, he kept the military a private property of his clan. When the war started, the dead bodies were mostly his clans men. So he doubled backwards, calling on Anglophones to join, no one came calling. He has hit rockbottom and is stalking journalists. Fat chance.

        • Well, now we are getting somewhere with this Anglophone thing… That’s good, even though you did not understand the essence of my question.

          Have you ever been to Sweden, my dear sir?

      • Idiot but i was just wondering if journalists r handcuffed in Sweden.Moron!

      • You must be a very unsmart person!

      • This can never happen in Sweden Ras never , and she is just saying the truth.
        Not agreeing with the ambazombians does not mean accepting the violence and injustice of the Biyas clan.

        • You sure boy? Well, just try this little exercise… Post something inflammatory or threatening against Ebba Busch Thors for example… and observe what happens to you. It is good to try and see! I leave it at that for now.

        • Sweden is a free country , and as a journalist she has to do her job. I am 100% against ambazombians 1000000% against Biya and his soldiers.

      • Why? Because you are from Douala?

    • @biko

      Just shut up man you needs help. What francophone has to do with that or anglophone. Instead to figure out how to mitigate the situation you are here putting oil in the fire.

      lets said you re right about this statement you just mentioned “Biya – you can do this open eye to francophones but not to southern Cameroonians ” my question is what are you going to do TRAITOR?

      nothing nothing nothing you are just coward fighter behind a computer.

      • I dont know where you are from..
        I asked this question many times..
        One thing is for sure:- u have a disability…
        Dont know where it is in your barin- which does not function ..
        You are a NEEDLESS AND USELESS HUman..
        As adjectives the difference between needless and useless
        is that needless is not needed; unnecessary while useless is without use or possibility to be used.

        U cant write a correct statement in English….
        I dont know if you can even write a correct French Statement..

        • Hahahaha biko mon frere the guy is a very sick individual who needs alot of help.How anybody can support the regime back home baffles all imagination but hey what do you think the Donald meant sh*thole

  2. Now, we should start asking ourselves, this one hundred dollar question: where were we,
    when Mr. Biya and his friends, became so powerful and untourchable?
    This is where, we all get it wrong with words. By definition and explanation, we now see
    the meaning of the word PEACE. As many as can go down the grave, be confined in jails,
    stay in the bushes or run away from the country, peace will finally, be maintained.
    Did i get it all right? Oh yes, the Cardinal, told us it is a divine rulership and we should take
    it that way and stop complaining. Experience they say, is the best teacher.

    • @joshua

      just shut up terrorist you right has been revoked. you needs to go and protesting again kikikikikikikikikikikikikikikikkikikikikikkikikikikiikkikikikikikikikikikikikikikikki.

      now u re certified terrorist .

  3. How can she be a so-called Anglophone when she is Bamileke?

  4. SEPARATIST aka SECESSIONIST

    Another example of:

    1. After the elections, Biya will do THIS….
    2. After the elections, Biya will do THAT….

    The so-called “one and indivisible” LRC is indeed an ISLAND OF EVIL ruled by a CRIME SYNDICATE.

    Membership of the crime syndicate is open to:

    1. election thieves
    2. ex-convicts
    3. putschists
    4. fraudsters
    5. embezzlers of public funds
    6. tax evaders
    7. murders
    8. war criminals
    9. Génocidaires
    10. highway robbers

  5. Very misleading as there is no such thing as anglophone journalist in Cameroon.
    Anyways ethics laws apply equally being it so-called anglophone journalist or whoever

  6. It is not by accident that ours is called “AK-47 Democracy”!
    And of course a people deserves their leadership! All that is required is to arm an ignorant individual and give him/her power of life/death over the citizen. Thus a gendarme listens smugly as lawyers enunciate articles of national and international laws that bind Cameroon. The journalist was handcuffed and led to New Bell prison in Douala – en route to the military tribunal – for daring to attribute the death of US Missionary Charles Truman Wesco to Cameroon’s soldiers. It was supposed to be attributed to the Amba boys, the real “terrorists”. Investigative journalism must never point fingers at government forces who are doing a professional job.

    Understandable sympathy for the lawyers and their client is tempered by a sad

    • reminder that when lawyers of the Common Law rose up in protest against official over-reach, Civil Law layers were noticeably absent, even the president of the Cameroon Bar Association. When a cancer starts from a remote corner of the body, therapy aims at extirpating it right away, before it metastases to other organs of the very body. Failure to apply this elementary knowledge is often at the root of many premature deaths. Lawyers must fight together all the time. So also must journalists. It is ridiculous to jail one journalist on frivolous charges (Mimi Mefo) while another gets of scot-free for a worse offense (Ernest Obama). It is ridiculous to cherrypick crimes that tarnish the name of the nation!

  7. Execution of children in the north by military blamed on Mali and other entities by the minio of communication and crooked CRTV.
    Fake paid transparency International observers on crooked CRTV proclaiming results of rigged elections in Cameroon
    Vision Hutu TV calling for genocide of Anglophones,
    Reporting death of Bongoman, still no military tribunal.
    Mimi is their perfect bait AngloBami given their Anglophobia and Bamiphobia
    Until you leave that forest you will never become the journalist you are capable of becoming.
    Journalists who stay there must become propaganda instruments of the dictatorship otherwise you will end in jail.
    Who killed American Wesco. who kidnapped 80 schools boys?
    The same people in uniform who executed women and babies.
    Who is fooling who?

    • You are such an insular and small-minded woman. That’s unfortunate, my dear.

      • I think you’re the pin-headed douche bag with no sense of levity. You parade this forum drenched in sleaze and always looking for someone to attack. Can’t you make your contribution and leave? How come a moron like you get swamped in dictatorial rhetoric?
        There are many of us in this forum who do not suggest armed conflict or school closings but who understand that Biya is the root of Cameroon’s problems. But dimwitted doteheads with such a taste for strongman-ism are the reason why the country & continent have been lagging behind.
        You rave over whatever atrocities Biya does, even blatant abuse of civil rights. You Biya-apparent doppelganger of deviance and fecklessness. Independent thinking and investigative reporting becomes a crime in your frivolous cerebrum.

  8. The Wesco family is quiet as of now. The State Department and the US gov`t, even
    the y`de embassy, are all quiet on this issue.
    If anyone of us can read the lines like i do, we should all mind our businesses like
    nothing has happened, afterall, the dust is visible.

    • One good way of knowing what the family thinks of your Ambazombie escapade is to attend the funeral of the ‘English-speaking’ whiteman, and see whether they will welcome you with flowers over there.

      I gather the funeral is soon, Joshua… do not miss the opportunity. Perhaps those white folks will thank you for remembering their beloved son. Go there with your folks, armed with your flags, make sure to make some videos, and share with us. I expect you to be that brave, you won the battle of Jericho, so this will be a bowl of red soup for you. Good luck, my friend!

      • The white folks, have forgiven your biya / co, reason, why you are so
        excited nothing will happen. But be told, that it is the US of all. Trust
        me they don`t forget or forgive. Keep your fingers crossed.

        • That’s exactly why you should go to the funeral, Joshua. To apologize for what you have done, and ask for forgiveness. America may never forgive you, as you say, but the family would. That’s what’s important, my friend. If America murders you, well at least, you would be at peace with your soul. Life is too short, man… just do it. Go over there with flowers and share a video with us.

  9. switzerland , france…have sent congratulations to the forger biya. He is now putting journalists in jail. political parties other than cpdm can not make any demonstration, the winner of the presidential election is brutalised. At he same time, thieves , gangsters, killers, … are all biya’s friends and government…
    Is joseph olinga at the origin of your stupidity in western cameroon. so it’s mimi moffo , one of the best journalist in cameroon who is at the nw and sw crise . the lazy dictator is becoming mad … biya the forger has cheates the elections . biya you’re responsable of anything concerning mimi meffo.
    biya , the forger lazzy dictator

  10. Journalists are being terrorized in Cameroon.Mr President please free Mimi Medo.

  11. Paul Biya Most go!

  12. How wicked can someone be. Hitler was wicked but the serial Killers of Biya have taken over the LRC the #1 wicked human beings on earth. Why allow this young lady to be sent to jail. Bamilike people stand up! But the President of LRC could order her release now but the old man is snail already and does not know the head of a monkey from the tail.

  13. Freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom of unproven informations i read this lady (I appreciate) posted on her website that the Cameroon army was the one that killed the American missionary on which basis can she release such statement ? In an environment where both arm groups and the army are active i understand the solidarity with the so called Anglophones but people must be very careful with the Yaounde regime don’t mess up with it even those who are not “Anglophones” are suffering think about The late Bibi Ngota the list of incarcerated journalists of both sides is quite long …

  14. One simple method to fight fake news is to publish authentic news. Cameroon is not the first or only nation confronted with what is perceived as fake news.News outlets always make room for “rejoinders” which painlessly offer alternative views. It is then left for consumers (the reading/listening) public to decide. New Bell Prison in Douala is certainly not the consumer!!!

  15. @Colby ”freedom of speech doesn’t mean freedom of unproven informations i read this lady (I appreciate) posted on her website that the Cameroon army was the one that killed the American missionary on which basis can she release such statement ? ”…..Bla bla bla,which one is the proven information?Immediately after the killing of that missionary,CRTV came out and say that it was the seperatist that killed the missionary.Did they give you proves? armchair journalism……

    • @Kongosa both sides are accusing each other mutually only the kind of bullets used can determine who really killed the American man.

    • Hahahahaha Kongosa,

      abeg go search for Ayaba Cho yi video for Youtube then chooz pipo…na wuna ova loss sense di put dis brilliant journalist for inside trouble so. Yi di tek yi true-true heart for fight for Anglo problem, but yi di forget sey pipo dem liké Cho, Ivo witi Tapang dem, witi some arda loss sense one wey dem di call’am Nsoh, na mafia pipo dem wey some time na dem dong sell Mimi for secure dem garri. As usual.

      Small 50 tasen background dollars dong turn wuna movement into a twa man club, yarri dong chakara wuna mov’t, daso forsika sey from the very beginning wuna bin be na wayo pipo.

      Real armed robber mov’t. All thing for wuna na daso jacks. Pipo dem sofa no mean no nating for wuna.

      Yéyé movement…

      • Mme Kah Walla, Mefo, NKom, Bikut, Ndoki…na wa MAMA AFRIKA dem dat.

        Mek we listen to dem….the dictator no fit meng women, even BAMILEKE woman, Chantal too na women.
        CMR na CMR…

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