Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Journalists summoned for commenting on corruption-related legal cases

(JED/IFEX) - JED is concerned by the legal proceedings against a group of journalists from the private press in Douala, Cameroon's economic capital, who have been charged for commenting on ongoing legal proceedings. JED urges the legal authorities to not impede the work of the press when it is investigating allegations of misappropriation of public funds and corruption as Cameroon is ranked among the planet's most corrupt countries.

According to information obtained by JED, journalists Anani Rabier Bindji (Canal 2 International), Thierry Ngogang (STV2), Aboya Endong Manasse (Africa Top secret) and Alex Gustave Azebaze (Aga Media) appeared before the Bonanjo trial court in Douala on 9 February 2010.

The public prosecutor of Wouri department has accused the journalists of commenting on the ongoing legal proceedings related to "Operation Sparrowhawk," which the government launched to track down those who had misappropriated public funds, and the Albatross case, which refers to the presidential airplane acquired in 2004 under conditions that are still unclear. The journalists are alleged to have made the comments during the 1 June 2008 edition of "Carte sur table" (Cards on the table), a programme broadcast by the privately-owned network STV2. The prosecutor's summons mentions the journalists' possession of a confidential document, in this case a copy of the minutes of a hearing of one of the individuals questioned by the legal police in Yaoundé.

Contacted by JED, Azebaze said the case was adjourned until 9 March at the request of one of the defendant's lawyers.

By our international desk, Auke VanderHoek

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