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Gambia2 August 2002

Congolese correspondent released

2.08.2002 - Congolese correspondent released

Guy-Patrick Massoloka was finally released on the afternoon of 1 August. According to a source at the National Intelligence Agency (Gambian secret services) who requested anonymity, he had been arrested because his 30-day visa had expired. In addition, he had not followed the instructions of the Gambian secret services to leave the country and return with a new visa. For his part the journalist had said that the immigration authorities had granted him an extra week to "put his affairs in order before leaving Gambia".

29.07.2002 - Congolese correspondent held without charge

Reporters Without Borders today called for the immediate and unconditional release of Congolese journalist Guy-Patrick Massoloka, the correspondent in Banjul of the Pan African News Agency (PANA), who was arrested on 19 July by officials of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and is still being held, without having been charged.

"This arrest, coinciding with the promulgation of a law creating a national media commission, is disturbing for press freedom in Gambia," ReportersWithout Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said in a letter to Gambian President Yaya Jammeh.

"As far as we know, nothing justifies this journalist’s prolonged detention," Ménard said in the letter, adding that, "Reporters Without Borders is astonished that the NIA has presented no serious charge or justification for the arrest and that no one has been able to contact Mr. Massolaka."

Following his arrest, Massolaka was taken to the headquarters of the NIA (the Gambian secret service), where he is still being held. Although he had resided in Gambia for just one month prior to his arrest, the NIA has claimed that he was publishing an unregistered weekly there. This is denied by the Gambian journalists union, the GPU, which says there is no indication of his being involved in any publication in Gambia. The real reasons for his detention are still unknown.

Meanwhile, Reporters Without Borders believes that the national media commission created under a law adopted on 25 July constitutes a press tribunal with powers that pose a serious threat to press freedom in Gambia

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in the annual report
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