Gambia journalists outraged by Supreme Court ruling on ‘false news’

Jorurnalists in The Gambia have expressed outrage at a Supreme Court ruling that affirmed that a controversial law on false news was constitutional.

Some descriptions they gave to the ruling of May 9 were ‘outrageous, unacceptable and shocking,’ stressing their resolve to challenge the ruling.

“The Supreme Court’s decision is bad news for New Gambia, outrageous & unacceptable. The Gambia Press Union is committed & will consider measures seeking to overturn the decision by the court on laws used to suppress free speech & restrict the freedom & independence of the media,” journalist Saikou Jammeh wrote on twitter.

Whiles the Court upheld the “false publication and broadcasting” law which is in section 181A of the criminal code, as constitutional, the judges scrapped in part the coverage of “sedition” law to only protect the President of the Republic and the administration of justice.

In February 2018, a regional court of ECOWAS sitting in Abuja, Nigeria ruled that Gambian media laws were detrimental to practice of journalists and went ahead to award damages to some journalists who were gravely affected by the Jammeh-era laws.

Gambia’s media were seen as a critical component to the campaign that led to the loss of Jammeh in December 2016 polls. Jammeh’s regime was marred with claims of high handedness towards the media and political opponents.

Forced disappearances, torture, arbitrary detention and in some cases killing of persons who challenged his authority. Jammeh is currently on exile in Equatorial Guinea. He left at a time ECOWAS forces were ready to force him out.

His sucessor, Adama Barrow, had expertly promised to open up the media landscape of the tiny West African nation. The government has yet to respond to the apex court’s judgment.



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