Théodore Tchopa and David Eyengue, who work for one of the leading Cameroonian dailies Le Jour and are members of the National Union of Cameroonian Journalists (SNJC), were arrested at a meeting in the home of a close supporter of Maurice Kamto, runner-up to President Paul Biya in last October’s election, in which Biya won a seventh term. The police also arrested Kamto and several of his supporters during their raid on the home.
“Covering opposition activities is not a crime – it is the duty of political reporters,” said Arnaud Froger, the head of RSF’s Africa desk. “By arbitrarily arresting journalists who are just doing their job, the Cameroonian authorities are not providing any answer. Instead they are just helping to deepen the country’s current political crisis. We call for the immediate and unconditional release of these two journalists.”
In a communiqué calling for their release that was sent to RSF , the SNJC said the two journalists were at the meeting as reporters and that the police had “confused” them with the opposition leaders and supporters they arrested. The journalists were transferred to judicial police headquarters in Yaoundé, the political capital, the SNJC added.
Journalists are often arrested in Cameroon. RSF is currently also fighting for the release of Amadou Vamoulké, a former head of state-owned Cameroon Radio & Television (CRTV), who has been held for more than two and a half years and is due to appear before a Special Criminal Court for the 17th time on 1 March,
Cameroon is ranked 129th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index.