The IPI global network strongly condemns the violent attack on prominent Cameroonian journalist Paul Chouta, who was assaulted in the capital Yaoundé, on March 9. IPI calls on Cameroonian authorities to immediately investigate the attack and to take action to guarantee the safety of the country’s journalists.
Paul Chouta, a well-known journalist who covers politics, corruption, and human rights for the independent news site Cameroon Web, was nearly beaten to death by unidentified assailants on the night of March 9, according to media reports.
Chouta was at a bar watching football when he was abducted by several men who drove him to the outskirts of Yaoundé, stripped him naked, and beat him until he was unconscious. According to reports, Chouta remained in intensive care for several days.
Chouta is an outspoken government critic, who also runs a popular Facebook news page called Le TGV de l’info. In May 2021, he was released from jail after being held in pre-trial detention for nearly two years over a criminal defamation complaint made against him by French-Cameroonian writer Calixthe Beyala. Chouta’s editor suspected that Chouta’s lengthy detention was retaliation for his critical reporting on the Cameroonian government.
In 2019, he was the victim of another assault, which some also suspected was connected to his reporting on politics and corruption.
“IPI strongly condemns the violent assault on Paul Chouta, one of Cameroon’s most prominent journalists”, IPI Deputy Director Scott Griffen said.
“Cameroonian authorities must carry out a swift and thorough investigation into this unacceptable incident and hold those responsible to account. Given previous attacks on Chouta, authorities must exhaustively consider Chouta’s reporting as a motive and take urgent steps to ensure that journalists are able to do their work safely in the country.”