Dear Mr. Manneh
Immigration’s “legal action” against Star FM.
The reported “legal action” against Star FM will be unwise and indeed unnecessary.
The facts are as follows:
Star FM reported that Sanna Manjang absconded the jurisdiction of The Gambia with false passports issued to him, presumably, by the Immigration Department.
The Immigration Department have set the record straight.
The Immigration Department now plan to take “Legal Action” against Star FM for “false information”.
The record has indeed been set straight and, in this particular instance, the Immigration Department is in the clear. So why the “legal action” for “false information”? That would not be a wise move for the following reasons.
Star FM has a legitimate “public interest” defence for publishing the story – unless Immigration is insisting that Star FM published in bad faith.
Immigration will have to prove “malice” on the part of Star FM before a court will convict. Star FM published the story, even if “false” in good faith – and certainly in the “public interest”.
Immigration is a Government Department that must be held to account by the public. A threat of “legal action” will be seen as an attempt to stop journalists from holding Immigration to account. Star FM’s honest mistake has not caused Immigration any damage whatsoever.
Finally, it is not in the “public interest” for Immigration to spend tax-payers money with “legal action” against a radio station that was performing a “public duty” – however mistakenly.
Please do not follow through with the threat of “legal action” or “false information” imprisonment. That would not be wise in the current climate of democratic and freedom dispensation in The Gambia under the government of President Barrow.