Cameroonian journalist Bruno Bidjang detained for alleged ‘rebellion’

The Cameroonian authorities have detained a journalist and Managing Director of privately owned L’Anecdote media group Bruno François Bidjang on allegations of rebellion in connection with a video posted and later removed on TikTok

Penpushing reports that gendarmes from the Yaoundé State Secretariat for Defense (SED) on February 6, 2024 summoned Bidjang, who is and news program presenter on Vision 4 television, to their secretariat for questioning.

The lawyer of the journalist, Charles Tchoungang confirmed the development adding that on February 8, Bidjang appeared in a Yaoundé military court, where a judge sent him back to the State Secretariat for Defense (SED) for further investigation.

Penpushing further reports that a source familiar with the incident explained that Bidjang appeared again before the court on Tuesday, February 13, 2024 and was questioned further,

The statement by L’Anecdote Communications Head Christine Toulou Ndzana, on February 7,2024 said that Bidjang’s comments undermined republican institutions and that an investigation had been opened to clarify responsibilities.

Penpushing also report that, in a memo circulated by news sites, L’Anecdote on the same day asked its employees not to make analyses, comments or simply give their opinion on current events on their social media.

The founder of L’Anecdote, Jean-Pierre Amougou Belinga, was arrested in February 2023, in connection with the torture and murder of Cameroonian journalist Martinez Zogo, who had accused Belinga of corruption.

Penpushing reports that the Chief Executive Officer added that Belinga remains in pre-trial detention at Kondengui Prison in the capital, Yaounde, adding that Bidjang, who was also arrested last year in connection to the Zogo killing, was eventually released pending investigation, as Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) reported at the time.

The lawyer emphasized that Bidjang was recently questioned again about the Zogo murder, arguing that the latest arrest is unrelated, and same vein Communications Minister Rene Sadi, on February 8, 2024 issued a press statement pointing out that freedom of expression could not be understood as the right to excesses of any kind, in particular incitement to sedition and hostility against the homeland.

Penpushing further reports that Head of Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ’s) Africa program, from New York, Angela Quintal, however, declared that Bidjang must immediately be release and, drop legal proceedings against him for alleged rebellion, and allow journalists to comment freely on public affairs,

“Cameroonian authorities must immediately release Bruno Bidjang without charge and drop its investigation into allegations of rebellion against him. Journalists must be free to comment and share criticism about issues of public interest without fear of reprisal’, Quintal emphasised

Penpushing also reports that Tchoungang told Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) that investigators questioned Bidjang in relation to a TikTok video he posted in early February commenting about a local socialite, adding that Hervé Bopda, who was arrested on January 31 after allegations that he had committed multiple rape and sexual assaults prompted national outrage.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) review of the video explained that Bidjang discussed in the TikTok video the public outcry that led to Bopda’s arrest and said there are other more important things that the Cameroonian people are not focusing on, such as the condition of the roads, access to water, electricity and embezzlement.

Penpushing reports that, Director of the media observatory at Cameroon’s Ministry of Communication, Denis Omgba Bomba told Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) that he is not familiar with the facts of the case, but said that L’Anecdote issued a statement that was clear about the allegations against Bidjang.

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) annual prison census showed that Cameroon was ranked as sub-Saharan Africa’s third-worst jailer of journalists with six imprisoned as of December 1, 2023, while another journalist, Stanislas Désiré Tchoua, was released on December 28 after serving a prison sentence for defamation and insult.

Meanwhile, under Cameroon’s penal code, rebellion by inciting resistance to the application of laws, regulations or legitimate orders from public authority is punishable by imprisonment of three months to four years.

FOOTNOTE: You want to share story with us? You want to advertise with us? You need publicity for product, or service, or   event? Contact us on WhatsApp +2348073463653 or email [email protected]


Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Back to top button