By Bakah Derick
The President of the Cameroon Journalists' Trade Union (CJTU) has maintained Wednesday 25 January 2023 as her Union's day to mourn stained Yaoundé based radio broadcaster Martinez Zogo. Marion Obam reaffirmed her position during a press conference in Douala on Tuesday 24 January 2023.
Marion Obam, CJTU President
In a position statement on Sunday 22 January 2023, the CJTU leader announced that Journalists and related media professionals across Cameroon should report to work this Wednesday in black; a position she maintained during her presser.
Here is the opening statement of Marion OBAM during the press conference.
BLURRING, BARBARIC MURDER OF MEDIA WORKERS
Press conference: January 24, 2023
Cameroon our country is in mourning. The Media world has just been struck in the most cruel and inhuman way!
On January 18, 2023, the National Executive Bureau of the Cameroon Journalists' Trade Union (NEB/CJTU) learned through social media that Arsène Salomon Bani Zogo, better known as Martinez ZOGO, Station manager of Amplitude FM in Yaoundé was missing. The media personality who was not a member of CJTU, the NEB instructed her members who could be better informed to communicate with the chapters and/or national executives for possible actions. The cautious action by NEB was motivated by the fact that not long ago, pressure had been exerted for a release to be made on two cases of abductions in the city of Douala. After necessary cross-checks with the gendarmerie and video surveillance, CJTU discovered a staged abduction by the complainant.
Unfortunately, the discovery of the body identified as that of Martinez ZOGO was announced on January 22, 2023.
Let us remind you, CJTU is a professional organization for the defense of the moral, material and professional rights of media workers in Cameroon. CJTU has consistently urged journalists to be part of the union to form the critical mass capable of reversing the balance of power in this environment where the press seems to be the target of certain dark forces. The merge in the war of clans and interests or the transmission belt depending on the objectives of the person giving you the information.
In addition to complicity in keeping media workers in unacceptable and inhuman situations, there are cases of intimidation such as that of Jean-François Chanon, editor of the daily Le Messager thrown into a cell and now a cold and monstrous assassination of Martinez ZOGO.
In 4 years in Cameroon, there have been around thirty cases of threats against freedom of the press, open-air attacks on journalists by elected officials and senators, arrests and assassinations. All these before the complicit gaze of the Government. This is evident in the fact that no investigation has been successful; No culprit has been arrested! Media workers are thus, without protection, handed over with impunity to outlaws and organized gangs. This is a situation that cannot be accepted by the great family of the press in general, and CJTU in particular.
Consequently, CJTU urges the government to comply with international conventions relating to freedom of the press, the protection of journalists and respect for human rights and public freedoms that Cameroon has ratified. In view of this horror and the message it seems to send, CJTU, while declaring its solidarity with the initiatives that will be taken by others to block the way for this barbarism, will undertake the following actions:
1. A day of mourning in all media outlets. All workers should dress in black on Wednesday, January 25, 2023.
2. Meetings with the Ministers of Justice and Communication, the DGSN and the SED to voice out the frustration of CJTU and demand a guarantee for the safety of her members.
3. A working session with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) to organize with the 180 member countries and 6000 affiliates a response to ensure that this crime does not go unpunished; IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said the murder of journalist Martinez Zogo was unacceptable and must be fully investigated: "Martinez's murder is a terrible put to question of the level of intolerance of truth and responsibility. He only did his job by exposing corruption and abuse of power. The fact that he was killed for exercising his right as a journalist to inform the public on matters of general interest shows that there are forces opposed to democratic rule in Cameroon.”
4. A work plan will be agreed with the Regional Executives CJTU in the 10 regions, to take the protest message of CJTU to governors of the Region;
5 - CJTU invites civil society actors and all associations of media workers in Cameroon to join the platform so that the construction of the balance of power is solid and that the truth is revealed about this crime;
6 – CJTU calls on the government of Cameroon to carry out an independent investigation into the murder of Martinez Zogo and to ensure by all necessary means that the perpetrators of this heinous crime are brought to book.
CJTU will take this opportunity to ask media owners that a day of work stoppage, dead air for radio and television be made in memory of Martinez ZOGO and other media workers who died in troubled circumstances.
Done in Douala on January 22, 2023.
For the NEB of CJTU