IFJ Calls for Independent Investigation into Death of Journalist in Cameroon

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) called today Cameroonian governement to open quickly an independent investigation, following the publication on 14 september 2010 of an official report on the death in prison of journalist Cyrille Germain Ngota Ngota alias Bibi Ngota.

“We are surprised by the bias in the report presented by the Cameroonian authorities which purports to validate simply the official version conveyed shortly after the tragic incident,” declared Gabriel Baglo , Director of IFJ Africa office. “Cameroonian government has to take practical steps against impunity for violence on media.”

On September 14, 2010, Amadou Ali, Vice Prime Minister in charge of justice, assisted by Issa Tchiroma Bakary, Minister of Communication and Maurice Kamto, Deputy Minister of Justice in charge of human rights, published the governmental investigation report made on the death in prison of Bibi Ngota which, according to the Cameroon Journalists’ Trade Union (CJTU), IFJ affiliate, contains only the conditions of death of the journalist.

In a public declaration, the CJTU rejected this report which does not take into account the concerns of journalists and human rights defenders. The interim First Secretary of CJTU, Alex Gustave Azebaze, member of IFJ executive Committee, reiterated the principal requirement of his organisation : the set up, without delay, of an independent commission to shed the light on:

- arrest of the four journalists,
- detention conditions in the central prison of Yaounde and the judicial police,
- circumstances of the death of the journalist and editor Bibi Ngota,
- the recent aggression in the central prison of Yaounde of Robert Harrys Mintya.

In May 2010, a delegation of both the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), the Association of Journalists’ Trade Unions in Central Africa (USYPAC) including Omar Faruk Osman, FAJ President, Stanis Nkundiye, President of USYPAC and Alex Gustave Azebaze, interim First Secretary of CJTU, had met the Cameroonian authorities to inform them about concerns of the community of African journalists.

The IFJ calls on the Cameroonian government to help restore calm by releasing all the journalists in prison, suspending all legal proceedings against journalists and quickly launch an independent investigation about the death of Bibi Ngota and the detention conditions, for better relations between media and the government in Cameroon.

For more information, contact +221 33 867 95 87
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 125 countries worldwide