IFJ Condemns Crackdown on Media in Gambia

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ)

today condemned massive arrests of members and leaders of

independent media organizations in Gambia, including the Gambia

Press Union (GPU) an IFJ affiliate.

"We firmly condemn these massive arrest of journalists

and leaders of the Gambia Press

Union. This climate of terror against the journalists and the media is

unacceptable," said Gabriel Baglo,

Director of IFJ Africa Office. "The unprecedented arrests and illegal detention

of journalists in The Gambia are systematic violations of the fundamental rights of journalists orchestrated by the Yahya Jammeh regime to suppress freedom of expression in

the country.  It is a callous attempt to

silence the media and press freedom."

On Monday 16 June, seven Gambian

journalists were arrested and detained for questioning. Three GPU executive members

were summoned and arrested in the morning by the National Intelligence Agency

(NIA). They are Emil Touray, Secretary General , Sarata Jabbi, First

Vice President and Pa Modou Faal- GPU Treasurer. By midday, Pap Saine and Ebrima Sawaneh, respectively editor and deputy editor of The Point newspaper were

also arrested by the NIA. In the evening, Sam Sarr and Abubucarr Saidykhan,

respectively editor and reporter of Foroyaa newspaper were also picked up by

the agents from the NIA.
Pap Saine had just been released by the Banjul magistrate court following charges brought against

him for obtaining Gambian identity

card and passport by false pretence when he was asked to continue to

the NIA headquarters in Banjul

straight from the court.

Relatives and human rights lawyers have tried to reach

both the NIA authorities and the Police to secure the release of these

journalists, without success.

The IFJ calls on the Gambia

Government to immediately and unconditionally release all seven journalists. In

the same vein, the IFJ also calls on the Economic Community of West African

States, ECOWAS, and Dr Ibn Chambas, President of the ECOWAS Commission to

demand the immediate release of the journalists and the restoration of press

freedom in the Gambia.

For more information, contact +221 33 867 95 87

The IFJ represents over 600,000

journalists in 123 countries worldwide