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Gambia16 June 2006

“Justice for Deyda Hydara” radio spot launched in run-up to African Union summit in Banjul

MP3 - 371.1 kb
Spot Deyda Hydara / UA (Français)
MP3 - 390.2 kb
Spot Deyda Hydara / AU (English)

Reporters Without Borders appealed today to radio stations broadcasting in Africa to regularly transmit a short radio spot about the murder of journalist Deyda Hydara from now until the end of a two-day African Union summit in Banjul on 2 July.

The Gambia correspondent of Reporters Without Borders and Agence France-Presse and co-editor of the tri-weekly The Point, Hydara was gunned down in Banjul exactly 18 months ago, on 16 December 2004. Less than 30 seconds long, the spot was prepared by Reporters Without Borders and Hydara’s son, Baba Hydara.

“My father was one of the Gambia’s greatest journalists,” Baba says in the spot. “He was killed just a hundred yards from a police barracks a year and a half ago. Since then, the government has done nothing to identify his murderers. Justice for Deyda Hydara!”

The spot concludes with this comment by Reporters Without Borders: “As the African Union holds a summit in Banjul, Reporters Without Borders points out that the Gambia is one of the most hostile countries in Africa for journalists.”

The spot can be downloaded in MP3 format in both English and French from the Reporters Without Borders website (www.rsf.org).

In June 2005, Reporters Without Borders appealed to radios broadcasting in Africa to point out that the only thing the Gambian government had done in the six months since Hydara’s murder was to try to discredit him.

Reporters Without Borders today also hailed the courageous position on Hydara’s murder taken in the US Congress by Representative Adam Schiff (Democrat, California’s 29th district). Schiff said: “Mr. Speaker, I rise today to mark the 18-month anniversary of a tragic event that is symptomatic of the deterioration of press freedom in the Gambia and elsewhere.”

He added: “Resistance to impunity is essential to maintain civil peace and demonstrate a commitment to democratic values. In a time when repeated anonymous attacks against media professionals have created tense relations between the state and the media in many countries, Deyda Hydara’s unrequited murder is deeply worrisome to those who are committed to democracy and justice in Africa. I hope that the Gambian Government will take this occasion to reverse its record on press freedom and set an example for the rest of the region.”

Schiff will also write to Gambian President Yahya Jammeh expressing support for the call by Reporters Without Borders and the Gambia Press Union (the country’s main journalists’ association) for the creation of an independent commission to investigate Hydara’s murder.

The letter says: “As the Gambia prepares to host the Summit of the Chiefs of State of the African Union (AU) in July and hold an important presidential election in September, I urge you to reaffirm your government’s commitment to human rights and press freedom.”



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