has an image problem: Dubbed the "Smiling
Coast of Africa,"
it is a tourist destination, but its
government has one of the region's worst records of human rights abuses. On
Tuesday, at an African tourism promotion event in New
York City, Gambian Vice-President Isatou Njie-Saidy
headed a delegation working toward improving the negative perceptions of the
In a discussion with Njie-Saidy after the event, I mentioned to her that an Internet search of the Gambia yields many results about its human right abuses. In response, she shifted the topic to the United States: "Do they tell you about Guantánamo Bay? Seems like a human rights issue," she said. "And, you know, in the Internet, you have a lot of garbage. ... Don't believe everything you read: You have to look in between." She later accused social media of peddling untruths: "Social media is the problem," she said.