Gambia: Union at forefront of push for authorities to strengthen press freedom

A consortium of more than a hundred civil society organisations, unions and citizen groups handed a draft Freedom of Information Bill to the Gambian government on 24th June as part of a push for legislative changes to strengthen press freedom. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) welcomes this collective effort to promote press freedom and calls on authorities to listen to the voice of civil society.

Credits: GPU

The CSO Coalition on Freedom of Information, which includes representatives of IFJ affiliate the Gambia Press Union (GPU), presented the draft bill as part of an ongoing dialogue between civil society and the authorities to improve freedom of information and media in the Gambia.

The text was shared with local and international partners and experts for comments to ensure that the new law will meet international media standards while reflecting local realities. Its drafting was financed by the United Nations Democracy Fund through a two-year project implemented by the GPU.

John Charles Njie, chairman of the coalition, said that “the draft bill is part of civil society’s contribution in complementing the government’s efforts towards an inclusive and citizens-led process of putting in place legislative guarantees for the exercise and enjoyment of the right to information”.

Minister of Justice Abubacarr Tambadou welcomed the move by the Coalition and said authorities will work to “hopefully present something before the National Assembly by the end of this year”.

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: “We hail the work of the GPU in establishing an inclusive dialogue with the authorities, who must listen and consider views from civil society bodies. The IFJ supports collective efforts towards press freedom and calls for this law to be introduced without delay”.

For more Information, please contact the IFJ - Africa Office

1st Floor, Maison de la Presse, 5 Rue X Corniche, Medina,

BP 64257, Dakar, Senegal

Tel: +221- 33 867 95 86/87; Fax: +221- 33 827 02