GPU condemns arrests and deportation of journalists, internet blockade

14 Dec

By Modou S. Joof

The Gambia Press Union on Wednesday condemns, in the strongest terms, the arrest and detention of media practitioners during the elections.

It also condemn the blockade on internet, international calls and SMS services and have called for the release of journalist Bakary Fatty of the State TV and for charges to be dropped against the Director General of the same TV Momodou Sabally.

Sabally is being tried for journalism-unrelated crimes.

Both have been in detention since November 8, Fatty faces no charges and has not appeared before a court.

“We call for the immediate release of Mr. Bakary Fatty, who had been detained for one month six days today,” GPU secretary general Saikou Jammeh said in a statement on Dec. 14.

“We also call on the government to respect the United Nations Human Rights Council’s resolution on the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the internet – remove the blockade on WhatsApp and Skype and refrain from further interference with the internet.”

He criticizes the deportation of two Al Jazeera journalists and call for a review of the media accreditation procedure that gives wide powers to state authorities to cherry-pick who to give or refuse media accreditation.

Two journalists from the Reuters News Agency had faced harassment from Gambia’s National Intelligence Agency and obstruction to their work on Election Day.

The umbrella body of journalists in the Gambia said it is deeply concerned by the prevailing political uncertainties brought about by “the unfortunate and regrettable u-turn by President Yaya Jammeh on the results of the December 1st presidential elections.”

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