Hundreds Pay Last Respect to Legendary Broadcaster, George Christensen

11 Jun
Mr. Christensen was known to be an ardent advocate for press freedom and freedom of expression and had endured burns and questioning in attacks including arson on his radio. Photo Credit: M.S.Joof/FPI/TNBES

Mr. Christensen was known to be an ardent advocate for press freedom and freedom of expression and had endured burns and questioning in attacks including arson on his radio. Photo Credit: M.S.Joof/FPI/TNBES

By Modou S. Joof

Hundreds of mourners gathered at the late George Christensen‘s house and attended a church service in Fajara on Friday to pay their last respect to the legendary broadcast journalist.

Mr. Christensen, 64, died on June 3, 2016 when he returned to Banjul after attending the second ‘International Civil Society Forum on The Gambia’ in Dakar, Senegal ahead of the ECOWAS Summit.

Local journalists in Banjul say his death is a “big loss” and has brought “sad times” for the Gambian media.

His coffin was covered with a white piece of cloth that carried his name, age, a logo of The Gambia Press Union and the inscription: “Defender of Freedom of Expression.” Continue reading

A Big Loss and A Sad Day: Gambian Media Mourns Death of Legendary Broadcaster, George Christensen

8 Jun
George Christensen was known to be a principled and truth-telling man but was also quite jovial sometimes (Photo Credit: Facebook)

George Christensen was known to be a principled and truth-telling man but was also quite jovial sometimes (Photo Credit: Facebook)

By Modou S. Joof

Local journalists in Banjul have described the death of Mr. George Christensen, the founder and proprietor of Radio 1 FM as “a big loss and a sad day for The Gambian media.”

Mr. Christensen, 64, died on June 3, 2016 when he returned to Banjul after attending the second ‘International Civil Society Forum on The Gambia’ in Dakar, Senegal ahead of the ECOWAS Summit.

The veteran radio journalist, commonly referred as Uncle George by young journalists, trained some of the finest journalists, and bloggers in The Gambia –some of whom owned radio stations and online multimedia news organisations. Continue reading

Gambia: Dozens detained over opposition protests

17 Apr

1. FB_IMG_1460844027868Dozens of Gambians have been arrested and detained over protests calling for “proper electoral reform” Thursday and subsequent protests calling for the release of those detained Saturday.

At least one opposition leader has been reported death in the hands of security officers following the April 14, 2016 protests.

Protesters from the main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) led by the National Organising Secretary, Ebrima Solo Sandeng, and others from political parties like the National Convention Party and the National Reconciliation Party marched more than one kilometer from Serekunda to Westfield displaying a banner indicating “We Need Proper Electoral Reform”. Continue reading

Zimbabwe Court Struck Defamation Laws

4 Feb
Local journalists in Banjul had called for a Reform of Media Laws on World Press Freedom Day 2013 (Photo Credit: Modou S. Joof/Globe/FPI)

Local journalists in Banjul, The Gambia, had also called for a Reform of Media Laws (Photo Credit: Modou S. Joof/Globe/FPI)

All laws assigning criminal penalties to defamation contradict guarantees of press freedom enshrined in Zimbabwe’s constitution, a panel of nine judges led by Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku ruled on Wednesday. Continue reading

Senegalese Border Police harass, detain Gambian journalist and Sierra Leonean Author

4 Oct
Gambian journalist Baboucarr Ceesay (L) and Sierra Leonean author Chernoh Alpha M. Bah were detained for refusing to pay a bribe to Senegalese police (Photo: MSJoof/FPI/October 2015)

Gambian journalist Baboucarr Ceesay (L) and Sierra Leonean author Chernoh Alpha M. Bah were detained for refusing to pay a bribe to Senegalese police (Photo: MSJoof/FPI/October 2015)

Senegalese Police at the town of Karang on Senegal-Gambia border on Wednesday reportedly assaulted and detained an independent Gambian journalist, Baboucarr Ceesay following a controversy involving a Sierra Leonean political activist and author, Chernoh Alpha M. Bah.

Bah was travelling with Ceesay to Banjul from Senegal on the invitation of Mr. Ceesay, a former vice president of the Gambian Press Union (GPU) and publisher of the Gambia Watchdog blog, when they were harassed and assaulted by Senegalese border police.

Bah is the author of a new book, Ebola Outbreak in West Africa: Corporate Gangsters, Multinationals & Rogue Politicians. Continue reading

Aside

THE GAMBIA ALERT: GPU calls for immediate release of Taranga FM Managing Director

5 Jul

The Gambia Press Union is calling for
the immediate release of the manager
of Teranga FM radio station, Mr Alagie
[Ceesay], who was picked up on the night of Thursday July 2, 2015, at the
premises of Teranga FM.

According to information gathered from
staff and family members, two men
suspected to be state security agents
came for Mr. Sisay shortly after breaking his fast.

A family source said: “We were sitting
in the compound after Iftar. Alagie
Ceesay sent someone to buy Green Tea.
While we were waiting, one of his
friends, Ous Sillah, came to inform him that there were two men looking for
him. So, he left the compound to attend
to them, but he never returned.

“Ous then followed him to enquire, but
he was asked by the two men to move
away, which he did.

“Ous later made attempt to inform family members, but
it
too late, as they had already left with
him in a black Pajero that was
parked outside the radio station.”

Four days have since passed and his whereabouts remains unknown to
family
and staff as well as colleagues.
This is
not the first time that Teranga FM
has come under attack.

Previous
managers have on several occasions been
subjected to interrogations at the NIA
in relation to their work and the
station itself was arbitrarily shut down
three times in under five years by
the state.

The family, supported by the GPU, has
already lodged a complaint at the Old
Yundum Police Station.

We are calling on the good office of
Inspector General of Police to
investigate the case of Alagie [Ceesay] and to ensure that he reunites with
his family and staff, who are missing his
presence in this Holy Month of
Ramadan.

The GPU is committed to the protection
and promotion of press freedom and freedom of expression.

Source: GPU

Aside

ALERT: Gambian Spies Interrogate Five Staff of The Voice Newspaper

1 Jul

The Gambia’s National Intellegence Agency (NIA) on Wednesday morning invited and grilled five journalists of The Voice newspaper.

On July 1, the Editor-In-Chief of the privately-owned newspaper, Musa S. Sheriff and senior reporters Sulayman Ceesay, Amadou Bah, Bakary Ceesay and Mafugi Ceesay were interrogated between 11:30 and 1330GMT at the NIA offices in Banjul.

This latest assault comes weeks after senior reporter Mafugi Ceesay was arrested and detained for more than an hour for covering a political rally of the President, Yahya Jammeh last month.

State agents have taken photos and personal details of the journalists including family and residential details.

They also obtained information about the Company’s operation and financial records during an extensive screening process.

The journalists said they were also checked against being “treat to national security” – a vague term.

“We were ask to go back to our office and continue doing our normal work,” senior reporter Bah later wrote.

The NIA officers claim the interrogation is meant to build cordial relations between the government and the media, according to the journalists.

Government-media relationst has never been cordial and this so-called claim has left the journalists wondering what sort of cordial relations is built in such a manner.

In 2014, Sheriff and
freelance journalist Sainey MK Marenah were detained and put through a 10-month trial and freed of conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor and publication of false news – with intent to cause fear and alarm – over a political defections article.

FPI understands this latest move is one of the many intimidating tactics employed by the authorities against the last remaining independent journalists in the country.

“This is [a] systematic campaign to silence The Voice journalists, who are among the remaining critical media houses in the Gambia,” said exiled Gambian journalist Sainey MK Marenah.

“However, any attempt to intimidate journalists will only send a wrong signal that the government is anti-media,” added Marenah who had a spell with The Voice as a freelancer.

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