The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has raised great concern about the safety of journalists in Cameroon following the killing of a second journalist in the country, within two weeks.
Jean-Jacques Ola Bebe, a radio presenter and Orthodox priest, was found dead on 2 February near his home in the Mimboman district of the capital Yaoundé, shot dead by unknown assailants.
His killing came 11 days after Arsene Salomon Mbami Zogo, popularly known as Martinez Zogo, a prominent journalist and manager of privately-owned Amplitude FM, was found dead five days after he had been abducted outside a gendarmerie station in Yaoundé.
Both Ola Bebe and Zogo were outspoken voices against corruption, using their platforms on radio to denounce cases of alleged misappropriation of public funds. Ola Bebe was at the forefront in calling for justice and accountability for the murder of Zogo – his close associate.
In January, at least three other Cameroonian journalists reported that they had received credible threats from unidentified people.
UN Human Rights is demanding that Cameroonian authorities take all necessary measures to create an enabling environment for journalists to work without fear of reprisal, and to uphold the right to freedom of expression as guaranteed in international human rights law, and also set out in Cameroon’s Constitution.
“A free, independent, and diverse media environment is vital in ensuring citizens are informed and can hold public institutions to account. We note that President Biya has ordered investigations into Martinez Zogo’s killing, and certain arrests have been made.
“We call on the authorities to ensure that Ola Bebe’s killing is also independently, effectively, and impartially investigated and that those found to be responsible for these killings, at all levels, are held to account,” the Commissioner said.