The IPI global network calls on authorities in Cameroon to conduct a thorough, independent investigation against the assault, on May 18, on sports journalist Eyong Macdella Bessong from the pan-African sports online media platform Kick442. The government must ensure the safety and security of journalists.

The attack on Bessong occurred at Molyko Omnisport stadium in Buea, the capital of Cameroon’s Southwest region. According to reports, Bessong was physically, verbally, and sexually assaulted by stadium officials and the police after she was unable to produce a hard copy of her press accreditation. She was also prohibited from entering the stadium.

Kick442 informed IPI that the attack is being investigated by the police, but that authorities had provided no further information.

‘’We urge authorities in Cameroon to carry out a thorough and independent investigation into the assault on Eyong Macdella Bessong, and to ensure that those responsible for this attack are held responsible”, IPI Director of Advocacy Amy Brouillette said. “The government should take care to uphold its domestic and international obligations to protect press freedom and to ensure all journalists can freely and safely do their work.”

Journalists in Cameroon regularly face a range of risks, including threats, physical attacks, illegal detention and legal harassment. Journalist Paul Chouta has faced several attacks with the latest coming on March 9, 2022, where he was brutally assaulted by unidentified assailants. This followed his arrest in May 2019 and illegal detention for 23 months on charges of defamation. Another journalist, Emmanuel Mbombog Mbog Matip, was arrested and detained in August 2020 for 16 months on allegations of spreading fake news.