They were told by the Gambian authorities to stop filming or risk being arrested after the government annulled their credentials. According to sources in Banjul the team were asked not make any film or report on any issue about the Gambia. The sources further noted the journalists were also informed that their permit was also revoked which was obtained prior to their entry into Banjul. “The Al-Jazeera team got the information that their permit has been revoked through their fixer” our source elaborated. It is not clear what must have fueled the Gambia government’s anger towards Al-Jazeera but some analyst postulated that the government feared that A-Jazeera may unveil the gross human rights violations taking place in the country.
Yesterday , 1st September Al-Jazeera broadcasted an interview with Gambia’s most radical rapper Ali Cham Aka Killer Ace. He was asked about his most talked about single track “Ku Boka C Geta G” where he stood up to the power that be , highlighting the rule of tyranny and the fear hovering over the skies of Banjul. Al-Jazeera has recently made interesting documentary on Senegal’s rich wrestling culture but their wish for a similar project in neighboring country, the Gambia is derailed by a pompous dictator.
In a democratic setting a free press should be able to ask legitimate questions and keep those in authority on their toes. In the Gambia such an atmosphere is very far from being realized. The tiny West African country is the most unfriendly media government in the sub- region. The country whose debt is 80% of GDP is dwelling in a financial turmoil. Since Yahya Jammeh took over power in a military coup in 1994 he has ruled the country with an iron fist making the West African nation not a heaven for journalists, opposition parties, and human rights defenders.
This year Gambia faced United Nations human rights group to review its human rights report but the country’s report was one of the poorest, according to rights defenders. In 2014 the country interrupted UN Rapporteurs on Torture and extra-Judiciary killing from their investigation in the country.