YAOUNDE, January 31, 2019 – The National Union of Journalists of Cameroon (SNJC) has called for the the ‘immediate and unconditional release’ of journalists David Eyengue Nzima, a sports reporter, and Theodore Tchopa. The two journalists were detained on Monday as they covered a political movement of the MRC, the Movement for the Renaissance of Cameroon.
Last Monday, Tchopa and Nzima, both journalists at daily newspaper Le Jour, reported, alongside other local journalists, on the political activities of the MRC and movement of security personnel, but were arrested and detained by police forces.
The current whereabouts of Tchopa and Nzima remain unknown and the SNJC has strongly condemned their arrests. In a statement the SNJC said: “The National Union of Journalists of Cameroon (SNJC) confirms that the journalists Théodore TCHOPA and David EYENGUE NZIMA were on the scene as part of their professional activities. Their presence was motivated only by the profession of journalist and the obligation to respect the “Right of the public to information” guaranteed by the constitution of our country and by the universal declaration of the human right.”
The statement continued: “Convinced that their arrest is the result of confusion, the National Union of Journalists Cameroon (SNJC) calls for their immediate and unconditional release. The ground remains the main source of information of the journalist and his presence in this place can not be considered as a crime.”
Nzima is also a member of ASJC, Cameroon’s Association for Sports Journalists. He is a familiar face at major sports events across Africa. Nzima also covered the 2017 Confederations Cup and the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
The ASJC has expressed grave concerns over this situation, citing that Nzima is being kept at a secret location and being prevented from contacting his family. The association has demanded the immediate and unconditional release of Nzima, reminding authorities that the international conventions signed by Cameroon compels them to protect journalists in the exercise of their profession.