Abuja, Nigeria, June 10, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes today's ruling by a West African regional court, which found that the Gambian government failed to conduct a meaningful investigation into the murder of journalist Deyda Hydara. The ruling is the first ECOWAS case relating to the murder of a Gambian journalist.
The government of President Yahya Jammeh sought to tighten its grip on the already weak independent press with detentions, criminal prosecutions, and the introduction of more repressive legislation. The National Intelligence Agency arbitrarily detained at least three reporters in connection with their work for prolonged periods of time. One remained in detention in late year. Authorities announced their intention to re-introduce statutory regulation of the press with a government-run Media Commission and criminalized online dissidence by passing a law imposing a harsh prison sentence on any individual, living in the country or abroad, who uses the Internet to criticize public officials. No new information surfaced on the whereabouts of journalist Ebrima “Chief” Manneh, who disappeared after being arrested by agency officers seven years ago. The government has made contradicting claims about Manneh’s whereabouts and health over the years, and has not complied with various international rulings ordering his release.
Le gouvernement du président Yahya Jammeh resserre son étau contre la presse indépendante déjà affaiblie par les détentions arbitraires, les poursuites pénales, et l'adoption d'une législation plus répressive. L'Agence nationale de renseignement a détenu arbitrairement pour une durée illimitée, au moins trois journalistes. L’un des journalistes était toujours en détention à la fin de l’année. Les autorités ont annoncé leur intention de réintroduire la loi sur la réglementation de la presse, - mise en place d’une Commission des Médias -gérée par le gouvernement, et la pénalisation de la dissidence en ligne- en adoptant une loi qui impose une lourde peine d’emprisonnement à toute personne vivant dans le pays ou à l'étranger, qui se servirait d’Internet pour critiquer les autorités publiques. Aucune nouvelle information n’a filtré sur le sort du journaliste Ebrima “Chief” Manneh, qui a disparu après avoir été arrêté, il y a sept ans, par des agents de l'agence de renseignement. Pendant plusieurs années, le gouvernement a fait des annonces contradictoires sur son lieu de détention et son état de santé, et a ignoré les appels de la communauté internationale pour sa libération.
Dear Chairperson Zuma: We ask that you mark World Press Freedom Day, May 3, 2013, by calling for the release of all journalists imprisoned in Africa and appealing for justice in the murders of journalists killed in the line of duty.
Abuja, Nigeria, January 9, 2013--Gambian authorities should immediately release Abdoulie John, a journalist who has been detained without charge in Banjul since Monday, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. John has been harassed by the Gambian National Intelligence Agency since early December, news reports said.
John, editor of the online news website Jollof News and a contributor to The Associated Press, was summoned for questioning at the headquarters of the NIA at around 2 p.m. on Monday, Lamin Jahateh, a representative of the Gambia Press Union, who was with John at the time, told CPJ. John was questioned for about three hours, he said. Emil Touray, president of the union, told CPJ that the agents took John to his home where they conducted a search, before returning him to custody.
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.
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.