MINCOM Reacts to Mimi Mefo Affair

The journalist who is suspected of publishing fake information and endangering state security is presently remanded in custody at the New Bell Prison pending hearing on Monday 13th November 2018.

Cynthia EFOPA

“American missionary Charles Trumann Wesco was shot today by Cameroon soldiers near Bamenda, North West Region of Cameroon. He is an Indiana. This is not the first case, soldiers three months back, killed a Ghanian pastor on pastoral mission in the North West Region. Source: CAN”. This is the content of the story that has caused the privately owned Equinox Television broadcaster, Mimi Mefo Takombe, her liberty. She published the story on her Facebook page on October 30th 2018.

The journalist was summoned at the Douala Gendarmerie Legion for preliminary investigations. She was later transferred to the State Prosecutor of the Douala Military Court for the following facts: dissemination of fake news likely to harm public authorities or national cohesion, facts provided for and punished under section 113 of the Criminal Code and insult against constituted bodies and civil servants, incitement to revolt against the Government and Institutions of the Republic, acts provided for and sanctioned by Section 154 of the Criminal Code judged in military tribunal.  She however benefits from the presumption of innocence pending judgement as she was remanded in custody at the New Bell Central Prison in Douala. The detention of the journalist has created a wave of mobilization of journalists who are pressing for her immediate release.

According to a press release made by the Minister of Communications, Issa Tchiroma Bakary, an autopsy carried out in the presence of Cameroonian and American forensic doctors, a representative of the United States Embassy in Cameroon and the Government Commissioner to the Yaounde Military Court portrayed that the pellets extracted from the remains of Pastor Trumann  confirmed that the shots that killed him indeed came from a 12- gauge weapon which is used by secessionists terrorists operating in the North West and South West regions. Despite this evidence that was presented and published in a press release by the Minister Delegate at the Presidency in charge of Defence, Mrs Mimi Mefo altered the reality of the facts, willingly spread untruths which is highly detrimental to the moral of the Defense Forces who are engaged in a loyal and legal fight against criminal hordes with a secessionist agenda.

These days, the ethics and deontology of the journalism profession is highly tampered. Without respecting the basic principles of verification of the authenticity of the information, evaluation, verification and cross verification of the credibility of the source of information as well as objectivity in reporting, journalists turn to publish erroneous information that can jeopardize the peace of a country. The Mimi Mefo affair is a glaring example. No state will fold its arms and watch its institutions be dragged in the mud. The Mimi Mefo affair is therefore a call for all media practitioners and Cameroonians to watch out on what they publish on social media.

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