IFJ Condemns Charges against Gambian Editor

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the Gambian authorities' decision to charge Pape Saine, co-proprietor

and editor of the Point newspaper, with

publication of false information following the printing of an article

concerning the arrest of a Gambian

diplomat.

"Journalists in The Gambia

continue to work in a very hostile environment due to the repressive nature of

the Government" said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa Office. "Over

the past decade, the government has orchestrated a systematic pattern of

harassment against journalists and caused many journalists to flee the country.

Arbitrary arrest and detention of journalists have become common place while there

is evidence of torture being used against journalists in detention."

According to reports from The Gambia,

Pap Saine was arrested in the afternoon on Monday 2 February and detained for

eight hours before being released on bail. His arrest followed the publication

in The Point of a story about a Gambian diplomat who had been arrested by the

National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

The article said the diplomat was moved from the NIA headquarters to the

main prison. The authorities are however contesting this statement, insisting

that the diplomat is still detained at the NIA headquarters, and using this as

the basis of the charges

The IFJ is calling for these charges to be dropped and the journalist fully

exonerated.

"These charges just prove the shocking abuse of the justice system by

the Gambian authorities," added

Baglo.

 For more information

contact the IFJ at + 221 33 867 95 87
The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 123 countries worldwide