Jammeh, a former army sergeant who seized power in 1994 when he was only 29, boasts of his contempt for journalists. He has cracked down on all critics through his personal guard and secret police, with arrests, threats and bomb attacks against the media. But journalists, grouped in a trade union, fought back until the December 2004 murder of Deyda Hydara, editor of the newspaper The Point and former head of the union. The country’s media has been cowed since then and the killers have not been arrested or punished.
Journalists are illegally arrested on the slightest pretext at the president’s whim, even though Gambia is the headquarters of the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights. He continues to insist that “if I want to shut down a newspaper, I will.”
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