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Cameroon9 November 2006

Authorities urged to take seriously brutal attack on host of phone-in show

Reporters Without Borders today condemned a brutal attack on radio presenter Agnès Taile by three hooded intruders on 6 November, and called on the Cameroonian authorities to take the case seriously. Taile hosts a phone-in show on privately-owned radio Sweet FM.

“This cowardly and disturbing act of violence must not go unpunished, especially as the threat to programme’s producers continues,” the press freedom organisation said. “Anyone physically attacking those who enable the public to speak on the air must be brought to justice. And Sweet FM’s staff will not be able to work properly as long as they know thugs could come after them at any time with complete impunity.”

Three hooded men forced their way into Taile’s home in the western city of Douala on the night of 6 November, dragged her outside, stamped on her as she lay on the ground, hit her on the hands and neck, and even tried to strangle her. Hospitalised with multiple contusions, she has difficulty talking and her hands are immobilised by bandages.

In Taile’s show, “You have the word,” which she has hosted since June 2005, listeners call in and talk about current affairs. Three weeks before the attack, she received several anonymous calls in which she was warned to stop her “hunt.” She condemned this attempted intimidation during her show in the days prior to the attack and urged anyone who felt they had been defamed to use their right of response. One of the attackers said: “You have asked for a face-to-face.”

Sweet FM’s editor in chief told Reporters Without Borders he had no idea who the attackers were. He himself is now the target of threats since deciding to host the show himself while Taile recovers.

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