Hamat Bah ‘Harass’ Journalist At Press Conference

7 Mar

Local journalists who witnessed the event told FPI that Bah’s clap was meant to “harass the journalist.” (Photo Credit: SoutAfrica, 2011)

By Modou S. Joof

Gambian journalist assaulted in a mob-style attack on March 5 by supporters of three political parties, was “harassed” last month by Hamat Bah, the leader of the National Reconciliation Party (NRP).

Bah was present on Sunday when Foroyaa reporter Kebba Jeffang was being intimidated, harassed by his supporters and those of two other parties. He took no action against it.

On Tuesday, the Young Journalists Association of The Gambia (YJAG) revealed that Bah had in fact harassed the same journalist in February at a press conference hosted by the Gambian President Adama Barrow.

“…sometime last month, the same journalist, Mr. Jeffang was harassed for simply asking President Barrow to state his position on the issue of gay and lesbian rights during the visit of the authorities of EU,” YJAG said in a statement on March 7, 2017.

“Hamat Bah joined the fray by shouting at the reporter at that particular event, complimenting the president as soon as he downplayed the reporter’s question,” the journalists’ body said.

Its Secretary General Sulayman Ceesay, said “this is not the type of Gambia we want.”

“The media should be free to ask questions and report on issues of public interest,” he said.

FPI understands President Barrow’s response to Jeffang’s question at that press conference was “homosexuality is not an issue in The Gambia” to which Hamat Bah also responded by clapping.

Local journalists who witnessed the event told FPI that Bah’s clap was meant to “harass the journalist.”

However, it later emerged that part of the deal for a multi-million euro EU grant to Gambia was to soften laws on homosexuality.

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