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Friday, December 7, 2012
Bamenda Journalist Arrested and Detained for Defamation
Kah Aaron, editor of Kilum 24, was picked up today December 7, 2012 at about 10 am by elements of the Judicial Police in Bamenda for publishing two articles which the Health Board of the Cameroon Baptist Church say the articles are defamatory. The two articles denouncing some practices by the CBC health board were published in issues No 001 and 002 of K24. The most pathetic thing is that it is common in Cameroon that journalists are picked up and detained for defamation and some are even refused bail.
However, the incident is happening when experts and journalists are reflecting on the decriminalization of defamation in Cameroon’s communication landscape in a forum holding in Yaounde-Cameroon. Journalists attending the National Communication Forum in Yaounde, we gathered, were taken aback by the arrest of Kah Aaron. Notwithstanding, at the time we were leaving the Judicial Police Station, Kah Aaron could not be granted bail given that the instructions for his arrest were linked to the State Counsel for Mezam. Luckily enough, the Commissioner for the Bamenda Judicial Police, when informed that a journalist was arrested and locked up in the cell, suddenly showed a human face by instructing his boys to keep him but not in the cell. Latest information indicates that some journalists attending the National Communication Forum are threatening to go down to the streets if the editor is not released. Some of the journalists, we learnt, are questioning why he could only be arrested only on Friday. This, they said, is usually the trick people use to ridicule journalists given that someone who is arrested on Friday could only be released on Monday, since Saturday is a non working day.
When News Breaks Out, We Break In. Minute by Minute Report on Cameroon and Africa