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Gambia29 July 2002

The draconian media bill adopted

29.07.2002 - Legislature adopts bill creating national media commission

On 25 July, the Gambian legislature approved a bill creating a national media commission, despite the objections of the country’s journalists. A minor change has been made to the new law: henceforth, it is the president of the supreme court, instead of the Gambian president, who names the president of the commission. The Gambian journalists union has announced that steps have been initiated with the aim of contesting the new law in the courts.

03.05.2002 - The draconian media bill adopted

The Parliament adopted the bill setting up the National Media Commission, on the 2nd May in the evening. The Gambian journalists’ union is about to make an injunction, so that the law is not enacted until a Supreme court judgement.

30.04.2002 - Media bill seriously threatens press freedom

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) called today on the speaker of the Gambian parliament, Sheriff Mustapha Dibba, to do everything he could to block passage of a new press bill that it said would seriously endanger press freedom. "This bill aims to create a National Media Commission that will be a full-scale press court," RSF secretary-general Robert Ménard said in a letter to Dibba. "In no circumstances must a press monitoring body replace regular courts. The extent of the Commission’s powers, with a chairman appointed by the head of state, is a serious threat to press freedom. The bill also violates the Gambian constitution, which guarantees such freedom." Parliament is due on 2 May to urgently consider the bill setting up the Commission, whose main job will be to rule on complaints against journalists and the media. It will be able to summon journalists to reply to accusations and order them to reveal their sources. It will also draw up a code of conduct for the media and accredit journalists and press organisations. No media outlet will be allowed to operate without an annually renewable licence, which the Commission can suspend or cancel. It can also close down media and impose fines of at least 10,000 dalasis (€610).

In this country
24 April - Gambia
Regional group asked to intercede on behalf of missing journalist
12 March - Gambia
Adjournment of trials facing editor of the daily The Point
5 February - Gambia
The Point editor faces trial on “false information” charge for reporting diplomat’s arrest
15 December - Gambia
Journalists still live in fear four years after unpunished murder of Deyda Hydara
18 August - Gambia
Freelance journalist gets four years in prison or heavy fine for criticising president

in the annual report
Gambia - Annual Report 2008
Gambia - Annual Report 2007
Gambia - Annual report 2006

Africa press releases
3 June - Somalia
Alarm at TV station director’s abduction near Mogadishu
27 May - Gabon
Government imposes news blackout on President Bongo’s health
26 May - Somalia
Radio reporter shot by militia dies of injuries, fourth journalist to be killed this year

africa archives

18 March 2009 - Democratic Republic of Congo
“Bukavu, murder city”: investigation report into murders of journalists in the capital of Sud-Kivu
21 May 2008 - Eritrea
Naizghi Kiflu, the dictatorship’s eminence grise
6 March 2008 - Kenya
"How far to go ?" Kenya’s media caught in the turmoil of a failed election

Sign the petitions
Sign the petition for the release of ten Eritrean journalists