"President Jammeh bags 4 awards," trumpeted a September 17 headline of the Daily Observer, a pro-government newspaper in the Gambia, a West African nation whose idyllic façade as "the smiling coast of Africa" is maintained in part by President Yahyah Jammeh's brutal repression of the independent press.
Who would not like to enjoy luxurious beach resorts and quaint fishing villages on the “Smiling Coast of Africa”? This is the pitch that the Gambian government made to participants of an international tourism conference last week. In fact, behind the idyllic facade of a tropical paradise wedged on Africa's western Atlantic coast is the grimace of Gambia's independent press.
For more than two years, U.S. Sen. Richard J. Durbin and a group of Senate colleagues have been pressing for the release
of Gambian journalist “Chief” Ebrima Manneh, left. In July 2006, security agents arrested
Manneh at his workplace at the Daily
Observer and have since held him incommunicado and without charge. On
Thursday, Durbin and four other senators sent a letter to Kamalesh Sharma, secretary-general
Do you believe the free flow of information must be protected? Sign the #RightToReport petition and demand that President Obama immediately:
1. Issue a presidential policy directive prohibiting the hacking and surveillance of journalists and media organizations.
2. Limit aggressive prosecutions that ensnare journalists and intimidate whistleblowers.
3. Prevent the harassment of journalists at the U.S. border.
Or click here to see the full petition, and join leading journalists like Christiane Amanpour, The Guardian’s Alan Rusbridger, Editor of the AP Kathleen Carroll, and Arianna Huffington in signing on.