Gambia

2012


Blog   |   Gambia

More can be done to get justice for Deyda Hydara

Deyda Hydara and his wife Maria circa 1989 (Hydara family)

In the eight years since unidentified assailants shot and killed Deyda Hydara of the Gambia, no one has been held to account. The late 2004 murder of Hydara, an immensely respected editor, columnist, and press freedom advocate known for his criticism of President Yahya Jammeh's repressive media policies, became a rallying point for Gambian journalists and the human rights community--a symbol of the violent means by which activists and journalists are silenced and of the impunity that envelops acts of intimidation, ranging from arson to torture and murder. 

December 17, 2012 1:40 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Gambia

Gambian journalist threatened after writing on executions

Abubacarr Saidykhan (The Standard)

Lagos, Nigeria, November 16, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists today said it holds authorities in the Gambia responsible for the safety of a journalist who has received death threats following critical coverage of the government.

Abubacarr Saidykhan, a freelancer who contributes to several news websites, told CPJ that four unknown people on Tuesday threatened him at his Ebo Town residence in Kanifing Municipality, some seven miles (11 kilometers) from the capital Banjul. Saidykhan said he was near his compound gate with his brother when the men drove up in an unmarked vehicle with tinted windows and threatened to kill him next time they see him. One of the men called him "a very stubborn journalist" before they drove off.

Alerts   |   Gambia

Amid execution debate, the Gambia censors newspapers

President Yahya Jammeh has ordered two newspapers to cease publishing. (AFP/Simon Maina)

Lagos, Nigeria, September 17, 2012--State security agents in the Gambia on Friday ordered two independent newspapers to cease publication immediately but provided no explanation, according to local journalists and news reports.

Agents from the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) in the capital, Banjul, visited the offices of the daily The Standard and the paper Daily News, which publishes three times a week, and told them that the president had ordered both papers to be shut down immediately, according to news reports. The agents told the staff that they could seek an explanation from the president's office, which oversees the operations of the NIA, news reports said. The officials did not specify how long the suspension would last.

Alerts   |   Gambia

The Gambia shuts independent radio station

New York, August 15, 2012--Gambian national security agents summarily shut an independent radio station early this morning without providing an explanation, according to news reports. Authorities have censored Taranga FM at least twice before in retaliation for its exclusive news review program, according to news reports.

Officers of the Gambian National Intelligence Agency stormed Taranga FM studios in Sinchu Alhagie village, southwest of Banjul, the capital, and forced it off the air, according to news reports. The officials also took the station's license as well as the contact information of its board members, local journalists said. The officers told the station staff only that they had received "directives from above," news reports said.

Alerts   |   Gambia

Gambian journalist detained on contempt of court charges

Sidiq Asemota (The Point/Sidiq Asemota)

Abuja, Nigeria, July 11, 2012--A Gambian judge ordered the arrest of a journalist Tuesday on contempt of court charges, the third instance of a journalist being detained on such charges in as many weeks, according to local journalists.

Police arrested Sidiq Asemota, the legal affairs correspondent of the pro-government Daily Observer, while he was on assignment at the High Court in Banjul, the capital, his employer reported. Judge Emmanuel Nkea of the Special Criminal Court had issued an arrest warrant for Asemota on Monday, news reports said.

Alerts   |   Gambia

Journalist in the Gambia detained beyond legal limit

Abdulhamid Adiamoh (The Point)

Abuja, Nigeria, June 25, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the Gambian authorities to immediately release or charge a journalist who has been in detention without charge longer than the country's limit of 72 hours.

Abdulhamid Adiamoh, the managing editor of the Today newspaper, was arrested Wednesday in connection with an opinion article, "Counsel sidesteps issues in cross-examination of [vice chancellor of the University of The Gambia ] Professor Kah," in which he criticized a defense lawyer in the criminal trial of a former lecturer at the university.

Attacks on the Press   |   Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Gambia, South Africa, Uganda

Attacks on the Press: Development Trumps Freedom

Civil unrest grips downtown Kampala. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said journalists who covered the protests were 'enemies' of the country's development. (AP/Stephen Wandera)

Many African leaders continue to offer a false choice between stability and press freedom. Taking a cue from China, a key investor and model, they stress social stability and development over openness and reform. By Mohamed Keita

Attacks on the Press   |   Gambia

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Gambia

Years of brutal repression by President Yahya Jammeh’s administration have gutted Gambia’s once-vibrant independent press and driven numerous journalists into exile. In August, the government forced Taranga FM, the last independent radio station airing news in local languages, to halt its coverage. The move came ahead of an October presidential election in which Jammeh faced no viable opponent and brooked no dissent. Official repression has taken many forms over the years, including arbitrary arrests, censorship, forced closures of media outlets, verbal and physical intimidation, arson attacks, and prosecutions under restrictive legislation. These actions, coupled with impunity in attacks on media houses and journalists, have reduced the domestic news media to a handful of newspapers that operate under intense fear and self-censorship. While marketing the country internationally as an idyllic tourism destination, the government ignored two rulings by a West African human rights court: one ordering the release of reporter “Chief” Ebrima Manneh, who disappeared in state custody after his 2006 arrest, and another compelling the government to pay compensation to a journalist for illegal detention and torture.  

February 21, 2012 12:29 AM ET

Blog   |   Gambia

For Gambia's press, positive developments?

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has reportedly asked for U.N. assistance to investigate the case of a missing journalist. (AFP/Seyllou)

Good news for Gambia's beleaguered independent press has been rare during President Yahya Jammeh's 17-year rule, but last week brought three potentially positive developments. It's unclear whether they mark a real change in the status quo, but they may at least increase the resolve of advocacy groups to seek improvements.

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