Cameroon Blasts Reporting of Gay Activist’s Death
Cameroon lashed out at the media on Friday for its reporting on the recent killing of a prominent anti-gay activist and warned that future "provocative commentary" on the case would be illegal.
In the first official response to the killing of Eric Ohena Lembembe, government spokesman Issa Tchiroma said in a statement that journalists had engaged in "speculation and witch-hunting" in their coverage of the case, which has drawn expressions of concern from the U.S., France, Britain and the U.N.
"Backed by certain civil society activists and at times by some of our compatriots, the international media have launched attacks on our nation, dragging its image into the mud," Tchiroma said. He called for "a maximum of restraint" from civil society and the media while law enforcement authorities conduct an investigation.
"Any interference or untruthfulness of any nature and origin, notably in terms of information rendered public and propagated by the media, can be considered a violation of judicial secrecy or provocative commentary, which is against the law," he said.
Friends discovered Lembembe’s body at his home in Yaounde on Monday evening after he was unreachable for two days, according to Human Rights Watch. The front door was locked from the outside, though they could see Lembembe’s battered body through a window. One friend said Lembembe’s neck and feet looked broken and that he had been burned with an iron.