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Cameroon Journalists in Hiding as Attacks on Media Continue

FILE - Cameroon President Paul Biya speaks at the presidential palace in Yaounde, April 19, 2013

FILE - Cameroon President Paul Biya speaks at the presidential palace in Yaounde, April 19, 2013

Several journalists working for Afrique Media, one of Africa's biggest television channels, have gone into hiding after Cameroon police stormed their offices in Yaounde and ordered them to stop broadcasting.

Cameroon's National Communication Council said it gave the orders because Afrique Media has repeatedly failed to respect ethics.

Peter Essoka, acting president of Cameroon's National Communication Council (NCC), said Afrique Media defied a one-month suspension it was given in June of this year and continued broadcasting.

Essoka said two journalists working for the media company also did not respect a six-month suspension they were given for what officials called repeated professional misconduct.

"The divisional officer for Yaounde, too, and a number of officials of law and order went to that media house and sealed it, but as we hear, the latest information is that they are still broadcasting. But it is the responsibility of the divisional officer or the administration to follow up on the measures they have taken,” Essoka said.


The Communication Council also accused Afrique Media of making unjustifiable accusations likely to impair the image and honor of personalities, institutions and foreign countries.

Kini Nsom of the Cameroon Association of English Speaking Journalists said the channel should have respected the suspension order.

"When we talk about the press, we should also talk about ethics. How free is a journalist who has just walked into the profession without trying to see what the ABC of journalism is all about," Nsom said.

Magne Tada Juliana and Mohammed Bachir Ladan, the two journalists who were suspended, and their colleagues have not been seen since the police sealed their office, but the channel, headquartered in Malabo, Equatorial Guinea, has continued broadcasting.

Last year, Reporters Without Borders said the very high number of summonses and suspensions handed out in Cameroon was an indication the NCC had taken a tough line toward journalists.

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