Gambia and free speech!

Jul 7, 2020, 11:08 AM

Freedom of expression is an important component and one of the cornerstones of democracy as well as a means of ensuring respect for all human dignity.

 Suffice it to state that the government of The Gambia is signatory to several international treaties such as Universal Declaration on Human and Peoples’ Rights which guarantees the right to freedom of expression amongst other things.

It is noteworthy to state that The Gambia had indeed gained a bad reputation on its human rights situation under the former government of Yahya Jammeh. Jammeh’s 22 years of military turned civilian style dictatorship. Such attracted international attention for 22 years, making The Gambia hell for journalists as well as activists that promote right issues in the country.

Following the change of government in 2017, many in the country respired and hoped for a better Gambia, where people’s rights to free speech and freedom of expression would be guaranteed at all cost. Few years down the line, it appears that the country is still far away from what many hope for.

The recent case involving Madi Jobarteh, a renowned Gambian right activist is a case in point.  Madi’s case has been a talking point in many social media. As rightly stated in our Monday’s edition of Good Morning Mr. President, as a leader, you must be ready to face critics as we are in New Gambia where freedom of expression without abusive languages should be welcomed at all times.

This also reminds us about the draconian media laws put in place by the past government. To silence the press and his critics, media laws have been passed which restricts media freedom including freedom of expression. Since 2013, the Jammeh administration enacted series of repressive laws that curtail freedom of expression and the media with a new law increasing penalties for “providing false information” and the other criminalises anyone using the internet to spread “false news” about the government or civil servants.

As the country now ushered in new democracy, these harsh laws to stifle free speech and media freedom should be abolished so as to promote democracy, rule of law and good governance. We therefore, called on the government to look at these harsh laws and make a swift move by eradicating in its entirety from our law books.

Your government should also allow people to freely speak and express themselves without the fear or being arrested or questioned or whatsoever.

Without freedom of thought, there can be no such thing as wisdom- and no such thing as public liberty without freedom of speech.;

Benjamin Franklin

Read Other Articles In Editorial
Let’s show compassion!
Apr 17, 2020, 1:46 PM

It is an unarguable fact that compassion is critical in any human endeavour and without it; the world would be a worst wild zone. Many scholars have concluded that compassion makes the world even smaller.

Malaria cases to increase in Gambia!
Jun 3, 2020, 1:19 PM

The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has sounded the alarm with the release of its recent annual rainfall forecast, predicting a surge in malaria cases as high temperatures, high relative humidity (above 60%) rainfall and thick vegetation cover provides fertile grounds for the survival of the vectors and development of the parasites.

Biri Biri, 1948- 2020!
Jul 21, 2020, 9:58 AM

“Kunlu-nafsin dhaa ikatul mawt” - every living soul shall indeed taste death.

To landlords, let’s exercise empathy and sympathy!
Apr 8, 2020, 2:40 PM

In the wake up of the fast spreading nature of the global pandemic, covid-19 has posed difficult challenge to not only nations around the globe but even local dwellers in far flung communities of Gambia. Due to its worrying nature, it thus requires wisdom and mutual understanding as we battle through it.

Kudos to security forces!
Apr 16, 2020, 2:26 PM

The president of the Republic last month approved the closure of all borders including sea, air and land between The Gambia and Senegal as part of measures to stem the spread of the covid-19. Despite this presidential move, people continue to smuggle people and other merchandise in and out of the country.

Coronavirus: The battle continues!
Aug 5, 2020, 11:39 AM

The upward surge in the number of Covid-19 reported cases in the country has been very alarming, yet many still doubt the existence of the virus. These spikes in the discovery of new positive cases remind us all that the battle is far from over. And there is more work to be done in the containment of this deadly virus.

Good Morning Mr. President: Tobaski is fast approaching 
Jun 29, 2020, 11:02 AM

Mr. President ‘Tobaski’ is barely one month away (according to calendars, it could be 31 July 2020) and the demand for Tobaski Ram and local produce are usually high and not enough for the whole population. 

Youth and unemployment!
Jul 9, 2020, 11:25 AM

It is estimated that approximately 34% of African population is aged 15 to 34, but most of Africa’s youth are unemployed.