An independent press freedom advocacy organization has written to President Adama Barrow, seeking to meet him over issues of a severe media clampdown under the erstwhile Yahya Jammeh regime.
Journalists and other media professionals were detained, others jailed and even killed under the watch of Jammeh and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has urged the administration to re-look into such cases as a matter of urgency.
In a letter dated February 1, titled ‘CPJ seeks meeting with Gambia President Adama Barrow,’ the group also lauded his early stands on ensuring media freedom.
‘‘We welcomed your December 5, 2016, remark that you did not want to inherit a country where media freedom was fettered and human rights were violated with impunity,’‘ they wrote.
They said a meeting with Barrow or his representatives were primarily ‘‘to discuss ways to improve the climate for the news media in Gambia.’‘
The group has repeatedly raised concerns about the actions of exiled leader Yahya Jammeh, with regard to the press during his 22 years in power, and sent a delegation to discuss them with senior officials.
Some specific issues they raised included:
- The case of Daily Observer senior reporter, Chief Ebrima Manneh, he was picked by security agents in 2006 and nothing has been heard of him since.
- A probe into the death of an avowed Jammeh critic, Deyda Hydara, he was shot in Banjul in 2004.
- The case of radio journalist Alagie Abdoulie Ceesay, sentenced to four-years in jail by a court in November 2016. He was charged with sedition and spreading false news.
- They welcomed the recent release of a TV journalist, Bakary Fatty who was held for over 70 days without charge.
The letter signed by CPJ’s Executive Director, Joel Simon, also put a number of people in copy, among others, the new African Union Commission Chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat; Vice President of The Gambia Fatoumata Tambajang and the Ambassador of The Gambia to the United Nations Mamadou Tangara.