Cameroon – Imminent Legal Battle: Family Blames CRTV for Falsely Announcing Chemuta Banda Died Of COVID-19

Par Atia T. AZOHNWI | Cameroon-Info.Net
YAOUNDE - 24-May-2020 - 19h00   2182                      
Chemuta Divine Banda Archives
According to The Guardian Post, the family of late Dr. Chemuta Divine Banda has initiated court action against the Cameroon Radio Television, CRTV, for falsely announcing that the human rights activist died of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19.

The lone English language daily authoritatively quotes a close family member of the late chairman of the National Human Rights Commission as saying that both CRTV and the 8:30 p.m. TV news presenter, Adele Mbala Atangana, have been sued jointly and severally.

When Dr. Chemuta Banda died of an illness at a medical facility in Yaoundé Monday, May 18, 2020, the 8:30 p.m. news presenter, The Guardian Post reports, was categorical in attributing the death to the novel coronavirus.

“Even after it emerged from a death certificate which the family is brandishing, that the man did not die of COVID-19, the state-owned broadcaster still went ahead to post the story on YouTube and CRTV website,” the paper reports in its issue N° 1890 of  Friday May 22, 2020, adding that the remains of Dr. Chemuta Banda were preserved at the mortuary of the Yaoundé General Hospital mortuary, long before the CRTV 8:30 p.m. newscast of that day linking his death to coronavirus.

Barrister Ndong Christopher told The Guardian Post that the deceased’s family could claim damages of up to even half a billion francs FCFA given that by linking the late Dr. Chemuta Banda’s death to COVID-19, “CRTV has caused untold damage not only on the deceased but especially on his family members…even a dead man has and maintains his dignity.”

Barrister Ndong tells the paper that the CRTV announcement has brought shame, dishonour, moral and psychological damages to the family of the diseased which no amount of damages paid can compensate for.

Family members of the late Dr. Chemuta Banda are vehement that responsibility for another report on Tuesday’s edition of the French language daily newspaper, Mutations, and on so many social media platforms, linking his death to COVID-19, should be dumped squarely at the doorsteps of CRTV, the paper furthers.

Cameroon-Info.Net recalls that on May 15, 2017 journalist Adele Mbala, while anchoring the 8:30 p.m. newscast on state television, read names of ministers and other officials presumed to have been named into the government of France’s President Emmanuel Macron. At the time she reportedly got the unfounded information from social media, President Macron was yet to name his government.

The diplomatic row that followed between Paris and Yaoundé caused an extraordinary session of the Board of Directors of CRTV to removed Adele Mbala from her then position – Director of TV information.


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