IFJ Says Arrest, Detention of Journalist in The Gambia Is Attempt to “Silence Media”

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the seemingly arbitrary arrest and detention by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) of journalist Fatou Jaw Manneh as she arrived in The Gambia from the United States of America to pay tribute to her late father.

Manneh, a former reporter for the Daily Observer in The Gambia, has been residing in the United States for about a decade. She was arrested on 28 March when she arrived at the airport.

The reason behind Fatou’s arrest is unknown as she has not been charged, but sources in Banjul have said it is due to Manneh’s critical views and commentaries on the Gambia’s political scene in online newspapers. Manneh works as a freelance journalist in the US.

“The continued arrest and detention of Gambian journalists in relation to their work by the incumbent regime, is a deliberate act of intimidation and intolerance, aimed at silencing the media” said Gabriel Baglo, the Director of the IFJ Africa Office. “Over the past few years, journalists in The Gambia have been forced to work in very hostile conditions as the government has tried to silence all of those who express dissident views.”

The IFJ urge the Gambian government to release Manneh immediately and unconditionally. The continued detention of Manneh, simply because she has expressed her personal views, is a flagrant violation of her fundamental human rights and a complete negation of the provisions of the Gambian Constitution which guarantees freedom of expression.

The IFJ is also calling on the Gambian Government to release journalists Chief Ebrima Manneh, who has been in detention since July 2006.

For further information contact the IFJ: +221 842 01 43

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 115 countries