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Cameroon: UNESCO head calls for investigation into death of detained journalist

Stop killing journalists.
Stop killing journalists.

Cameroon: UNESCO head calls for investigation into death of detained journalist

The head of the United Nations agency tasked with upholding press freedom today called for a full investigation into the “tragic” death in jail of a newspaper editor in Cameroon.

Detained in Kondengui jail in the capital, Yaoundé, for nearly two months, Ngota Ngota Germain, editor of the weekly Cameroun Express, suffered from asthma and high blood pressure, according to Reporters Without Borders, a non-governmental organization.

According to media reports, the West African nation’s Government said last week that it will conduct an inquiry into the death of the editor, who was charged with fraud.

Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), expressed her grave concern over his death.

“The detention and death of journalists represents a loss for any society; the loss of a pair of eyes and of a voice that can inform the public about issues that concern us all,” she said. “I trust that the authorities will do all they can to shed light on this tragic death and on the conditions of Ngota Ngota Germain’s detention.”

In a related development, Ms. Bokova has also spoken out against the murder of Jorge Alberto Orellana, a TV producer and presenter who was shot dead in the northern Honduran city of San Pedro Sula on 20 April.

His murder brings the total number of Honduran journalists killed in the Central American nation to seven in the past six weeks.

“I am alarmed by the high toll the media of Honduras have been paying in recent weeks and trust that the authorities will spare no effort in investigating each and every one of these cases,” the UNESCO chief said. “This is essential to enable the media to play their role, which is indispensable for democracy and rule of law.”