Sixteen years after the killing of Gambian journalist; Deyda Hydara; police not doing enough in the murder investigation. Deyda Hydara; an investigative journalist and co-founder of The Point Newspaper was shot dead on December 16; 2004 by unidentified assailants; while on his way home from attending the anniversary of his newspaper.
Despite Gambia’s often-touted democratic credentials, attacks on journalists and media workers persist. In 2017 for example, the country recorded several cases of threats, physical attacks, seizure/damage of equipment and arrest/detention of journalists and media workers. Already in 2019, (January and April), the country has recorded five assault cases including the shutting down of two private radio stations and the brutalities against three Gambian journalists at the Presidents birthplace in Mamkaman-Kunda.
The attacks on two media houses (the Brikama-based Radio Home Digital FM and King FM in Tallinding).
Undoubtedly, these attacks and the impunity with which such crimes are perpetrated impugn the country’s reputation and democratic credentials. It also emboldens perpetrators and nurtures self-censorship among journalists and media workers.
There must be Stakeholders’ Dialogue in order to deliberate on the rising spate of attacks on journalists and proffer solutions on securing the safety of journalists, media workers and free speech in the Gambia.
section 207 sub (1) of the 1997 constitution of The Gambia States that the freedom and the independent of the press and others information medias are here by guaranted. The same sub section (3) says the press and other information media shall at all times be free to upholds the principles, provisions and objectives of this constitution and the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people of The Gambia.
Since the theme for this year’s celebration of World Press Freedom Day is “Journalism without fear or favour”.
The question that Migration Reporters Association of The Gambia (MiRAG) is asking is that are we really doing our job without fear or favour? Are we really free; is the government taken us serious?
Signed by Ousman A. Marong Secretary- General, MiRAG