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Daily News deputy editor freed, as judge urges caution

Jun 26, 2012, 12:39 PM | Article By: Baboucarr Senghore

After spending three days at the remand wing of the Mile 2 State Central Prison, Lamin Njie, deputy editor-in-chief of The Daily News newspaper, yesterday walked out of the High Court in Banjul a free man after he was pardoned by Justice Emmanuel Nkea for contempt of court.

Njie was remanded at the State Central Prison since last Friday after Justice Nkea issued an arrest warrant for him over an article he (Njie) authored in The Daily News in the case of four former senior officials of the Gambia Revenue Authority (GRA).

In the said article captioned, “High Court Turns Down Bail Request for GRA 4”, and published in its Monday 18th June edition, Njie reported that the High Court “refused to overturn the decision” of the Banjul Magistrates’ Court to grant bail to the former top GRA officials.

Though the Special Criminal Court and the High Court respectively denied bail to two senior officials of the GRA namely, Bakary Sanyang, former commissioner general and Musukebba Corr, former commissioner of domestic tax, both rulings were delivered after the said publication.

In his ruling at the High Court yesterday, Justice Nkea sent a word of caution to the media fraternity in The Gambia, urging journalists to always report the facts and not what they think.

“It is not my duty to tell you your job; if you want to be a journalist or reporter, school yourself properly,” Nkea told a crowded court room dominated mainly by journalists.

According to him, though he has listened to the explanation of Njie as to why he should not be charged with contempt, he was not persuaded but would deal with him with some form of leniency.

He therefore pardoned Lamin Njie, who was embraced by family members and colleague journalists as he left the court room.

“What you write can land you in trouble even if you know it to be true, if you do not verify your source,” the judge said, adding that what journalists write has to be always the correct thing.

He told the court that court reporting is on very sensitive issues, and should not be taken as a joke by any reporter or journalist.

“As journalists, you should make sure that what you report is nothing but the fact,” he added.

Also currently in detention at the State Central prison is Abdulhamid Adiamoh, editor-in-chief of Today newspaper whose arrest was also ordered by the Banjul Magistrates’ Court last Wednesday.

His arrest warrant followed a complaint made before the court by Lawyer Badou S.M. Conteh that somebody “used” Today newspaper, in an article carried in the Tuesday 19 June edition, to personally attack him as defence counsel in a case before the court.

Adiamoh is due to appear in court on Thursday 28 June 2012.