Mimi Mefo: "This award is not just for me, but also for others who continue to stand up for press freedom"

Winner of the 2019 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Journalism Award, Mimi Mefo is one of less than a handful of journalists working without fear or favour in Cameroon’s climate of repression and self-censorship.

04 Apr 2019

My name is Mimi Mefo Takambou. I hail from the conflict-hit North West region, and from the French-speaking west region of Cameroon.

I have become one of the most persecuted journalists in Cameroon due to my constant reporting on the civil war that has ripped the English-speaking community apart.

The regime there has been using anti-terror and cybercrime laws to intimidate, threaten, and silence the media.

I stopped publishing information on Facebook and my website for several months because of constant threats and intimidation. But I continue to report.

Since 2017, at least 20 journalists have been arrested and jailed in Cameroon for doing their jobs. I call on the government to drop all charges against them.

One of the most challenging moments of my career was in November 2018 when I was arrested, handcuffed and imprisoned for reporting the killing of an American missionary. I was released four days later following unprecedented national and international mobilization.

As we speak, the crisis in Cameroon remains highly under-reported: journalists are not guaranteed safety when travelling to conduct investigations, and access to information is a major problem. A government which imprisons a journalist is weak, scared of being exposed.

But the response from other journalists when I was arrested tells me that others are still prepared to speak out.

So this award is not just for me, but also for others who continue to stand up for press freedom.

It is a reminder that I must continue to work with objectivity and balance and continue to be a voice for the voiceless.  

It will also give me more power to advocate for press freedom and for the release of my colleagues in jail.

Thank you for your support.

Full profile: #IndexAwards2019: Mimi Mefo works without fear or favour in Cameroon’s climate of repression and self-censorship

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