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» 03.03.2010 - Cameroonian journos tortured
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» 16.10.2009 - Chad expels Cameroon editor
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» 05.11.2008 - Hostage killed in failed rescue operation

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Society | Media | Human rights

RSF condemns sentencing of Cameroonian editor

afrol News, 12 January - Reporters Without Borders has strongly condemned the three year sentence slapped on Lewis Medjo, the Cameroonian managing editor of a weekly La Détente libre last week.

Mr Medjo was accused of spreading false news after publishing an article in August alleging that President Paul Biya forced the fist president of the Supreme Court Alexis into taking early retirement.

According Reporters Without Borders statement, said newspaper has also established a further link between the arrest of the journalist and the appearance of another article published in August which alleged attempt of the well renowned Cameroonian businessman who tried to take money by force from the government.

In Cameroon, state controls broadcast media, with newspapers, the public's main source of news, subject to considerable official restrictions. In 2006 the media rights body RSF noted that draconian laws regularly put journalists behind bars.

"This latest sentence underlines the fact that African jurisdictions far too often respond to press offences by imprisoning journalists rather than through fairer and more appropriate solutions," the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

The organisation said even if Mr Medjo is found guilty, harsh penalty imposed will not undo the harm suffered by the victim. “The authorities should be aware that they are making a new martyr of him when they should be resolving this case by other means,” it said in a statement.

Mr Medjo who was arrested on 22 September 2008 and transferred to Douala central prison in the west of the country on 26 September, his trial was adjourned on several occasions for administrative reasons.

Cameroonian which for a long time was the only television station, its monopoly was broken with the arrival in 2001 of TV Max, Cameroon's first private TV station. Dozens of private radio stations sprang up following a liberalisation of telecommunications in 2000.

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