Attacks on the Press in 2006 - Snapshots: Cameroon
|Publisher||Committee to Protect Journalists|
|Publication Date||February 2007|
|Cite as||Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 2006 - Snapshots: Cameroon, February 2007, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/47c5674c23.html [accessed 5 March 2015]|
Arsonists set fire in January to the premises of the stillborn private radio station Freedom FM, founded by award-winning journalist Pius Njawe. The fire damaged the station's antenna. Police found a gasoline can at the scene and opened an investigation. The government had shuttered Freedom FM in May 2003, just as the station was about to launch. Its studios were unsealed in July 2005, but authorities did not honor their pledge, pursuant to a June 2005 agreement, to grant the station "provisional authorization" to operate, Njawe told CPJ.
In March, at least one managing editor was sentenced to prison on a charge of criminal defamation after three private newspapers published lists of alleged "secret homosexuals." Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga, director of L'Anecdote, was sentenced to four months in jail, fined 1 million CFA francs (US$2,000), and ordered to pay symbolic damages of 1 CFA franc (less than 1 U.S. cent) to Grégoire Owona, a cabinet minister. Owona filed a complaint against Belinga after his name appeared in one of the lists. Belinga filed an appeal and stood by his decision to publish the names, claiming to be a crusader against homosexuality in Cameroonian society.
Agnès Taile, the host of a popular news talk show with the private radio station Sweet FM in Douala, was dragged at knifepoint from her home on November 6 by three unidentified assailants, who choked her, beat her, and left her in a ravine, according to local media reports and the Cameroon National Journalists Union. On the last show before the attack, she asked listeners to assess the record of President Paul Biya's party, in power for 24 years. Tailé had received several phone threats weeks before the attack, local journalists said.