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IFJ Joins Condemnation of Mindless Violence against Journalists in Cameroon

October 5, 2011

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today joined its African group, the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), in condemning the brutal attack and subsequent arrests journalists who were covering a demonstration in the Buea area called by supporters of a movement seeking greater autonomy for the region formerly known as West Cameroon.

According to the National Syndicate of Journalists of Cameroon (SNJC), an affiliate of IFJ and FAJ, at least five journalists were denied access to the area to cover the demonstration and were assaulted by security personnel who also destroyed their equipment. The SNJC has accused the authorities of denying protection to journalists who cover events organised by the government's critics, citing the earlier coverage of the raid to a bridge in Douala by an armed group where journalists were not brutalised.

Among the journalists attacked were Tamfu and Solomon Amabo both working for Anglophone service of Equinoxe Radio and Television; Elvis Tah, Patrick Sianne and Bouddih Adams of The Post newspaper. The three of The Post were detained by the police on allegations that they were activists of a separatist group.

Conspicuously, Bouddih Adams, who is also the Administrative Secretary of SNJC was arrested in his office at The Post newspaper in the town.

According the latest reports, they were all later released but ordered to report regularly to the judicial police for reasons which have not been explained.

FAJ denounced the police action and called on the authorities to order security personnel to respect journalists' right to freedom and safe working environment.

"We condemn the brutal attacks on the journalists in Cameroon and demand that the government guarantee the safety of all working journalists," said FAJ President Omar Faruk Osman. "The government of Cameroon is under obligation to respect and protect the freedom of the press and guarantee access to information for its citizens given the various international treaties and conventions it has signed, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights." added FAJ president

The IFJ backs FAJ and SNJC, saying the latest incident is an attempt to intimidate journalists in a country with a poor record on press freedom.

"This mindless violence against journalists is a terrible indictment of authorities in Cameroon for abuse of power and abetting attacks on independent media," added Jim Boumelha, IFJ President. "We fully support our members in Africa and Cameroun in their defence of robust and professional journalism."

For more information contact the IFJ Africa Office on +221 33 867 95 86/87

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 131 countries in the world

For more information contact:
International Federation of Journalists
Phone: +221 33 867 95 86/87

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