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General News of Friday, 12 December 2014

Source: Cameroon Journal

Bibi Ngota Journalism Award suffers setback

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Cyrille Bibi Ngota, Cameroon journalist and editor of Cameroon Express who died in pre-trial detention at the Kodengui Central Prison in April 2010, has since 2012 been remembered with an award in his honour. However, the event suffered a major setback recently.

He was arrested and put in detention after he and three others questioned presidential advisor, Laurent Esso about allegations of embezzlement of public funds. His health deteriorated in prison and he died after being denied medical care.

In 2012, writer Patrice Nganang and other human rights activists under the banner of the Cameroon human rights organisation “Tribunal Article 53” established the Bibi Ngota Journalism Against Impunity Award to honour investigative journalists who seek to break the silence of impunity, one of the main characteristic of dictatorship.

The 3rd edition of the award organised in Douala on Monday 8 December, suffered a major setback after gendarmes stormed the hall where the event was about taking place and arrested the organisers. They also seized all speeches, trophies and certificates meant for the winners of this year’s award. Nganang and the coordinator of the award Gerard Kuissu, including two others were whisked off to the gendarmerie in Douala where they were questioned before being released.

The Divisional Officer for Douala I had banned the event suggesting that it could orchestrate public disorder. But Patrice Nganang argued that he did not understand how the award was going to provoke disorder when it has been peacefully organised for the previous two years – 2012 and 2013.

The laureates of the 2014 award were supposed to be Cameroon journalists Sebastien Elvido and Edith Wirdze, as well as Burkinabae journalist Steven Ozias, who did not make it to Cameroon on the day of the award.

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