June 13, 2011
Soccer deaths story 'costs' two Cameroon journalists jobs
By BISONG ETAHOBEN
Two journalists of a private Cameroonian TV Station, Canal2 International, have been sacked due to claims they made on air that two people who died following a weekend Cameroon-Senegal football match were victims of bullet wounds and asphyxiation by tear gas.
According to reliable sources, the journalists, Mr Guy Zogo and Mr Patrick Eya’a, were sacked following pressure from the department of national security and the Presidency of Cameroon.
The sackings came amid a heightened controversy over the number of people who actually died during post-match disturbances. While several press organs reported a total of four, police insist only one person – Serge Alain Youmbi – died.
The police further insist that Youmbi was trampled to death by irate fans of the national team, despite eyewitness accounts that he was shot dead by the former.
The disturbances followed Cameroon 1-1 draw with Senegal, which meant the former could miss the Africa Cup of Nations finals to be held in Equatorial Guinea and Gabon next year.
However, Canal2 International General Manager Emmanuel Chatué denied he had been pressurised to sack the journalists and claimed that Mr Eya’a’s termination was in connection with a yet-to-be-broadcast report on opposition politician Abba Aboubakar, who was recently arrested and detained under conditions described as “very inhuman”.
“I want to tell all those who accuse me of having bowed to pressure from the Prime Minister and the Delegate General for National Security to sack the two journalists that this is not true. It is simply inadmissible that Canal2 International becomes ‘Radio Mille Collines’ and incites Cameroonians to rise against each other,” he explained.
This was an allusion to the notorious radio station in Kigali that fanned the 1994 ethnic massacres in Rwanda.