The Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ, has asked the Confederation of African Football, CAF, to urge the Cameroonian government to release all journalists detained for their work in Cameroon and to cease censoring and harassing the media ahead of the Africa Cup of Nations, scheduled to begin on January 12, 2019.
It should be recalled Cameroon will be hosting the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations tournament. The media advocacy group in strong worded letter to CAF’s new president Ahmad Ahmad, says Journalists who will be visiting the nation to cover the football event “will not be able to report freely.
“The Africa Cup of Nations will likely attract journalists and media coverage from around the world. Given Cameroon’s continued disregard for press freedom, for a wide array of human rights, and for accountability for crimes against journalists, we are concerned that visiting journalists will not be able to report freely from Cameroon. Their Cameroonian colleagues already cannot”
The letter equally stated that Cameroon’s treatment of the press has steadily deteriorated since December 2016, notably with the targeting of Anglophone media and the use of anti-terrorism legislation to silence critics or those who report news the government does not wish to see reported.
The CPJ in the letter signed by its Africa programme co-ordinator, Angela Quintal revealed that it had asked Cameroonian Minister of Information Issa Tchiroma Bakary for information regarding the detention of some six journalists but “ he has not responded”.
CPJ’s letter comes weeks after football pundits had asked Caf to review the manner in which the 2019, 2021 and 2023 Africa Cup of Nations tournaments were awarded to Cameroon and other West Africa nations by the previous Caf administration.