25 September 1997


Journalist Joseph Nyada Mani remains imprisoned; pressures against journalists continue

Incident details

Joseph Nyada Mani



(RSF/IFEX) - Journalist Joseph Nyada Mani, director of
publication for the privately-owned newspaper "Le Proces",
remains imprisoned. On 27 May 1997, he was arrested in Yaounde
and placed in detention in the Nkodengui central prison. Mani was
convicted of defamation and sentenced to six months in prison and
ordered to pay 500 000 CFA francs (approximately US$ 1 200) in
damages and interest. His conviction followed the publication, in
February 1997, of an article which reported on corrupt activities
allegedly linked to entrance exams at the Teachers' Training
Academy ("l'Ecole normale superieure") in Yaounde (see IFEX alert
of 21 August 1997).

**New cases plus update to IFEX alert dated 21 August 1997**

Meanwhile, pressures against journalists and media outlets
continue. On 23 May, during a press conference, Minister of
Communication Augustin Kontchou Kouomegni claimed that
journalists were not properly carrying out their work by engaging
in the "manipulation and brainwashing of international opinion."
Kouomegni also mentioned the existence in the Penal Code "of a
panoply of measures" to punish crimes of the media.

Elsewhere, on 10 March, Claude Roger Eyoum Ndoumbe, who directs
the "Society" column in the state-owned daily "Cameroon
Tribune", was suspended by the director of the newspaper. The
decision came after the circulation in the media, a few days
beforehand, of an open letter to President Paul Biya, in which
Ndoumbe protested the incarceration of his brother, a journalist
with the privately-owned satirical weekly "Messager Popoli". On 7
July, Ndoumbe was dismissed from his job following a letter sent
by Minister Kouomegni to the director of the "Cameroon Tribune"
accusing the journalist of publishing articles likely to sully
the image of the Head of State, as well as Cameroon and its

Recommended Action

Send appeals to authorities:

  • reminding them that Cameroon is a signatory to the International
    Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 19 of which
    recognises the right to inform and to be informed
  • calling on them to use their influence so that the harassment of
    journalists in Cameroon ceases
  • calling on President Paul Biya to do everything to obtain the
    release of Joseph Nyada Mani

    Appeals To

    His Excellency Paul Biya
    President of the Republic of Cameroon
    Palais de l'Unite
    Yaounde, Cameroon
    Fax: +237 23 30 22/+237 22 16 99

    Peter Mafany Musonge
    Prime Minister
    Immeuble Etoile
    1000 Yaounde, Cameroon
    Fax: +237 23 57 65

    M. Laurent Esso
    Minister of Justice
    Garde des Sceaux
    Ministry of Justice
    1000 Yaounde, Cameroon

    M. Augustin Kontchou Kouomegni
    Minister of State for Communication
    Ministry of Communication
    BP 1588
    Yaounde, Cameroon

    Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

  • Source

    Reporters Without Borders
    47, rue Vivienne
    75002 Paris, France
    rsf (@) rsf.org

    Fax:+33 1 45 23 11 51
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