The Cameroon Journalists Trade Union (CJTU) has strongly condemned the arrest of Bertrand Ayissi by the Governor of the Adamawa region for publishing an investigative article on human trafficking.
The l’Oeil du Sahel Newspaper journalist published the story on human trafficking in the Newspaper’s edition of August 18, 2023, on the cover page, notably pages 6 and 7.
The Governor summoned the journalist to his office on September 11, 2023, at 10am for wanting to “disturb public order”.
Ayissi was put in police custody for 24 hours, after which he was released but kept for further investigations.
This led the CJTU to see his arrest as “intimidation” and “attack on press freedom” in Cameroon.
“Having complied with the administrative summons, Bertrand AYISSI was treated as a “hired journalist manipulated by men hiding in the shadows to blacken the work done on the security level in the region” and handed over to the Vina gendarmerie to be placed in custody,” the Trade Union stated in a release published on September 13, 2023.
“What further proof is there to admit that the press now lives in insecurity and that Justice must be done to reconcile the Cameroonian people, the press, and the State?”, CJTU added.
The trade union has called on all its members and supporters to stay united in the amidst the difficult moments.
This comes barely one day after the Governor of the South West Region of Cameroon indefinitely suspended ‘The Post’, one of Cameroon’s leading Newspapers. https://arreyb.com/breakingthe-post-newspaper-suspended/
These two moves have caused a lot of reactions from some Cameroonians who believe it is the role of the National Communication Council (NCC) to survey and sanction the media, not Governors.
Reactions of some media personalities
“The New Deal Government has successfully taken us back to the inglorious era of despotism, characterised by the Draconian press laws, where celebrated clerks, acting as administrators, would muzzle the press to quietude, especially those that have refused to act as political songbirds for corrupt administrators and politicians.”, the former desk editor of the Newspaper, Abah Isidore, stated.
Nsaikimu Sibarah Ignatius posted on Facebook – “The National Communication Council is a regulatory body and the administration is supposed to be hands-off since the body was created by the administration and is under it’s aegis”.
“That is the million-dollar question but what amazes me is the rate at which people applauded the act. It was wrong, it is wrong, and will still be wrong for an administrator to censor a press organ.”
According to CJTU, “the press now lives in insecurity and Justice must be done to reconcile the Cameroonian people, the press, and the State.“
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