A Gambian newspaper will Wednesday
petition President Yahya
Jammeh for the release of its detained managing editor.
of the Foroyaa newspaper and five others were arrested Monday after publishing
a statement by the Gambia Press Union. The statement criticized President
Jammeh's comments about an investigation into the unsolved December 2004 murder
of journalist Deyda Hydara.
In an interview with VOA, Halifa Salah, a Foroyaa editorial board member, said his newspaper will not abdicate its responsibility to give a dissenting voice to
we have been trying to do with this paper is to provide an alternative voice to
the government media, which is under the domination of the government, as well
as the party in government," Salah said.
said authorities are yet to give reasons for the detention of Sarr and
the other journalists.
anticipated that they will respect the constitution which states that under
section 19, three hours after detention, the person detained should be told
exactly why he is detained, and should be given access to a legal practitioner
to pursue the matter. This hasn't been done," he said.
said the detained editor upholds the journalistic standard of fair coverage.
is important is at the end of the day what you have published is in line with
truth, good faith at the public interest. I am saying that that is the
principle of Mr. Sam Sarr, the managing editor of the Foroyaa newspaper," Salah
said freedom of speech should be encouraged in order to strengthen Gambia's
is important for us to realize is that freedom of expression is the foundation
of a democratic society, and it should not be suppressed in anyway," he said.
urged the government to respect the freedom of the press.
issue of freedom of expression provides us with the basis where you give
divergent view and therefore the government can fight its case through words.
This is merely reporting divergent news. This requires tolerance, immense
tolerance from government," Salah said.
journalists are expressing fear that their detained colleagues could face
charges for sedition or inciting hatred against lawful authority.
rights groups and media watchdogs have often accused state security agents of
mistreating journalists, a charge Banjul sharply denies.