On press freedom!

Dec 16, 2020, 12:52 PM

Annually, hundreds of journalists around the world continue to face threats and even imprisonment for not giving in to government censorship.

Journalists and media workers are crucial to helping societies make informed decisions. And these decisions are important in the daily lives of ordinary citizens. Therefore, journalists should be allowed to execute their jobs without any hindrance whatsoever.

Violations of freedom of expression rights continue to be a major challenge to participatory and accountable governance not only in The Gambia but in the region as whole.

In many countries around the world, critical media and dissenting voices are not tolerated and are often crushed in the most brutal ways.

For instance, journalists in The Gambia during the past 22 years worked under one of the most brutal regimes one could ever imagine. Ill-treatments such as threats, harassment, imprisonment and even death are some of the daily nightmares journalists learnt to put up with as they headed to their various news outlets.

This at some point led to many journalists fleeing the country or abandoning their profession due to family pressures.

Sadly, some of the legal instruments that the former regime relied on to make is easy to imprison journalists are still in our law books. It is high time as a country, we to do away with those draconian media laws as they have no place in modern society.

We hereby amplify our call for authorities to discard all draconian media laws as it doesn’t only stifle press freedom, but it also hinders thriving democracy. Freedom of expression is a fundamental pillar in any thriving democracy. Journalists must be free to do their work without intimidation. There is a need for government to ensure the safety of journalists.

We however salute journalists for their providing accurate, factual and timely analysis as well as holding our leaders accountable.

We equally call on government to revise payment of its subscription and advertisement dues to newspapers, because late payment of newspaper subscription and advertisements do not only hamper production, but also delay payment of salaries for media workers.

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