Cameroon detains journalist for disseminating "fake news"

YAOUNDE, Nov. 8 (Xinhua) -- Popular Cameroon TV host Mimi Mefo, who heads the English-service of privately-owned Equinoxe TV, has been detained for propagating "fake news", Cameroon's Minister of Communication Issa Tchiroma said in a statement on Thursday.

"(She) is being prosecuted in flagrante delicto before the Douala Military Court for dissemination of fake news likely to harm public authorities or national cohesion, insult against constituted bodies and civil servants, incitement to revolt against the government and institutions of the republic," Tchiroma said.

The statement came after Mefo was remanded in custody late Wednesday at the New-Bell Central Prison in Douala, Cameroon's commercial capital where she works.

According to Tchiroma, Mefo lied in a tweet about a week ago that American-born Rev. Charles Truman Wesco, who died in the war-torn Anglophone region of Northwest, was shot by the Cameroon military.

"He was killed by terrorists. The words of Mrs Mimi Mefo who in addition to altering the reality of the facts and spreading manifest untruths, do not fail to bring our defence forces into disrepute, which is highly detrimental to the morale of the troops," Tchiroma said.

Mefo's lawyer, barrister Richard Tamfu, said the detention was based on "unfounded allegations".

"She gave an information, provided the source and they leave the source and attack her," Tamfu said.

Media rights groups have demanded the "immediate release" of the journalist.

Cameroon Journalists' Trade Union (CJTU) demanded that the government release Mefo without pre-conditions and take necessary measures to appease the relationship between journalists and institutions of the Republic, Denis Nkwebo, national president of CJTU, said in a statement.

Mefo is scheduled to appear before the military tribunal in Douala on Monday, according to her lawyer.

[ Editor: WPY ]
 

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