Christoph Strässer, the Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, issued the following statement today (12 December) on the banning of the Bibi Ngota Award ceremony in Cameroon:
I am extremely concerned that the Bibi Ngota Award ceremony was banned in Cameroon and that journalists from its organisational team were temporarily detained. The prize serves as an important means of recognising journalists’ essential work for a democratic and transparent society. I call on the Cameroonian Government to respect human rights and in case of doubt to decide in favour of freedom of expression.
The Bibi Ngota Award is named after a Cameroonian journalist who died in Yaoundé Central Prison in April 2010. Bibi Ngota was arrested in connection with his research on a possible case of embezzlement involving a high‑ranking official. His death was widely condemned at the time.
Tribunal Article 53, which was founded by the Cameroonian writer Patrice Nganang, set up the Bibi Ngota Award in 2012. The prize is awarded to journalists for their work on various aspects of impunity on the African continent. The Federal Foreign Office provides financial support to the prize as a means of promoting human rights. This year’s prize was awarded to the journalist Sebastian Chi Elvido of the daily newspaper “Mutations” for his report on corruption in forestry and mining, the journalist Steven Ozias Kiemtore of the daily newspaper “Sidwaya” from Burkina Faso for his report on corruption at border crossing points, and the Cameroonian journalist Edith Wirdze of the daily newspaper “The Post” for her report on child trafficking.