Gambian Journalists Enjoy Freedom In Dictator Jammeh’s Absence

GAMBIAN JOURNALISTS are reportedly enjoying a relatively friendly media environment since the departure of dictator Yahya Jammeh in 2017.

According to Reporters Without Borders in its 2019 World Press Freedom Index,
“Since dictator Yahya Jammeh’s departure in January 2017, the new president, Adama Barrow, has begun realizing his promise to create an environment that favours the media’s development.”

Gambia ranked 92 in the 2019 Index, representing +30 improvement in its 2018 ranking of 122.

The report says “Gambia continues to make significant progress.”

It says the state radio and TV no longer have a broadcast news monopoly and several community and privately-owned radio and TV stations have been created.

According to the report available to DGN Online, “in May 2018, the supreme court ruled that the criminalization of defamation was unconstitutional and a major overhaul of media legislation is now under way.”

It added that “of the more than 100 journalists who fled abroad during the dictatorship, at least 30 have been able to return.”

It noted that “nonetheless, the old habits from 23 years of terror and suppression of press freedom have not yet fully disappeared.”

According to the report, “several journalists have been attacked by the police or by Jammeh supporters while out reporting.”

Jammeh was Gambia’s long-serving dictator and under his rule, press freedom was reportedly suppressed.

BY Melvin Tarlue

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