The IFJ-affiliated Gambia Press Union (GPU) has called on journalists not to comply with new rules imposed on journalists seeking to cover events in the Presidency.
The GPU confirmed that the Office of the Director of Press and Public Relations (DPPR) is requiring journalists to go through a selection process under the supervision of the State Intelligence Services (SIS) “as part of press accreditation procedures”.
The IFJ and GPU have strongly condemned the procedure and called on the authorities to allow journalists to work freely and without any form of surveillance.
The SIS, formerly named the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) under the Jammeh regime, was a notorious and feared institution that intimidated, arrested, tortured and maimed journalists and civilians with impunity.
The President of the Gambia Press Union, Sheriff Bojang, said that the union has asked journalists not to comply with the selection process until talks are held with the Director of Press and Public Relations .
IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said: “Journalists should never go through a selection process to be allowed to report on public institutions, least of all controlled by intelligence agencies. We urge the authorities to drop this proceeding and allow journalists to cover public affairs without any kind of policing”.
The President of the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), Alsadig Ibrahim Alrizagi, said: “Independent journalists will never be comfortable to go through a screening process by an institution that had previously inflicted pain and suffering on journalists. This screening process will breed self-censorship, as journalists will be afraid that being critical in their reports could lead to a cancellation of their accreditations”.