Yaounde — JOURNALISTS in Cameroon are facing the increasing threat of jail and death penalty for coverage of the Boko Haram terror group and the civil unrest by English-speaking communities. The crackdown on the press largely reporting on the government's alleged laxity against the problems has left journalists too scared to cover such sensitive issues. Media professionals arrested under the draconian anti-terror law face military tribunal and harsh sentences including capital punishment. Among these is radio broadcaster, Ahmed Abba, is currently serving a ten-year sentence and could still be executed. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) said Cameroon was clearly using anti-state legislation to silence criticism in the press. "When you equate journalism with terrorism, you create an environment where fewer journalists are willing to report on hard news for fear of reprisal," the organisation's regional director, Angela Quintal, said. The media rights group said despite a presidential decree ending legal proceedings against at least four journalists, the law that was used against them is still in place as next year's elections approach. "Cameroon must amend its laws and stop subjecting journalists--who are civilians--to military trial," Quintal said. The Central African country of 23 million people is besieged by deadly protests by English communities decrying alleged marginalisation by a government dominated by French-speaking Cameroonians, including President Paul Biya. It is also facing a terror threat by the Nigerian Islamist Boko Haram radicals.
Cameroon: Journalists Face Death Penalty in Cameroon Crises
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