Archive for the ‘Press Freedom’ Category

Gambian Diaspora Open Discussion on the Way forward for Gambia

October 8, 2014
Reads :840
GAMBIAN MEDIA GIANTS

GAMBIAN MEDIA GIANTS

The Gambia Diaspora

Online Media

The Diaspora

September 6th 2014

 

Dear Sir/Madam,

As disenfranchise Stakeholders and custodians of an important platform on Gambia’s national discourse, the Gambian Diaspora media is providing a platform in the form of a conference call inviting major stakeholders of the Gambian Diaspora to discuss the WAY FORWARD FOR GAMBIA. The conference is designed to bring interest groups and individuals together to discuss how to work together more effectively to harness the synergy of various groups and individual expertise to address the political nightmare in Gambia. 


Individual experts/citizens will speak on and give ideas on how the Diaspora struggle can exploit:

Working relationship with the political opposition on the ground
Engage our international partners; such as the UN, AU, EU, ECOWAS & RIGHTS GROUPS for political reform in Gambia
The effectiveness and the need for resistance in the form of demonstrations
The role of the Diaspora online Media in the struggle and how their platforms can be fully utilized for positive change
The importance of women engagement and leadership in the struggle
The importance of religious leaders in the struggle
The need for national fundraising to empower Diaspora Gambians to fight against disenfranchisement
Strategic ways and means of engaging Gambian security apparatus to protect the rights of citizens
Ways and means of forging a united front for the Diaspora and the opposition on the ground

This conference is being scheduled to coincide with upcoming one year anniversary since The Gambia withdrew itself from the Commonwealth of Nations.

Date and time: Saturday, October the 11th 2014
Time: 1:00pm Eastern Standard Time, 5:00pm UK Time.
Program is via Conference Call: number +1 619 326 2772 access code number 256-0536.

The theme of this event which will be a live online radio program is “DIASPORA UNITY AND THE WAY FORWARD”. This great event the first of its kind will be moderated by Omar Bah and will be carried live by online media networks.

Each of these hosts will have the honour to take turns and pose a question, and panellists will each have five minutes maximum to respond. The wisdom behind this Round-Table -Talks, is to continue the national conversation around the need for unity in the struggle.

Disclosure: The public is hereby informed that the initial letter that was sent out was sent in error and that the idea of this conference is to create a platform where Gambian Diaspora leaders and stake holders can come together and discuss about the way forward. Our apology for any confusion this may have created.


Sincerely,

Salieu Njie

“Be the change you want to see in the Gambia”

BREAKING NEWS: KIBAARO’S OUSAINOU BAYE SANKAREH ARRESTED IN THE GAMBIA BY THE NIA

October 2, 2014
Reads :12524

STOP PRESS! STOP PRESS!! STOP PRESS!!! OUSAINOU BAYE SANKAREH ARRESTED IN THE GAMBIA 

 

Serigne Bamba Mass

Kibaaro General Manager: Bamba Serigne Mass

Ousainou Baye Sankareh

Kibaaro’s Ousainou Baye Sankareh arrested in the Gambia by the NIA

The Management of Kibaaro Newspaper, Radio and Television wishes to ALERT the general public, International Press Organisations, Human Rights Activists and Organisations, Amnesty International, etc, about the arbitrary arrest and detention of one of our Local Language Radio Presenters, Ousainou Baye Sankareh, by the Gambia’s Nefarious and Brutal National Intelligence Agency (NIA) yesterday, 1 October 2014. 

Mr Sankareh is reported to have been arrested last night shortly after his arrival into the country to attend the Muslim feast of Eid Ul Adha (Tobaski) prayer with his family in the Gambia, which is slated to take place on 4 October 2014.

The circumstances of Mr Sankareh’s arrest are still unknown, as the Kibaaro Management continues to investigate the issue. However, Kibaaro Management maintained that the source, who broke the news was a reliable informant and all contacts with Mr Sankareh proved futile.

For this reason, Kibaaro’s management are convinced that Mr Sankareh’s has indeed been kidnapped by the notorious and nefarious Intelligence agencies of the Gambian Authorities. The Management of Kibaaro Media maintained that they were never informed of Mr Sankareh’s planned trip to the Gambia.

So far no reasons have been given by the Gambian authorities, to either Mr Sankareh’s family or the Kibaaro Media Group, for his arbitrary arrest and detention.

THE KIBAARO MEDIA MANAGEMENT AND STAFF DEMAND HIS IMMEDIATE AND UNCONDITIONAL RELEASE!!!

Kibaaro’s General Manager, Bamba Serigne Mass, wishes to notify the Dictatorial Regime of Dictator Yahya Jammeh that Mr Sankareh has no influence in the editorial policies of the medium and his arrest will not change the same. Mr Mass wishes to assure Dictator Jammeh that the arrest of Mr Sankareh will only harden the resolve of the Kibaaro Media to secure his release and that of all political prisoners of Yahya Jammeh.

HE ADDED THAT KIBAARO REMAINS COMMITTED TO AN END TO THE BABARISM OF YAHYA JAMMEH IN THE GAMBIA, WHERE PEOPLE ARE ARBITRARY ARRESTED, DETAINED AND TORTURED FOR NO OTHER REASON THAN THAT OF HAVING AN ALTERNATIVE OPINION TO THAT OF THE COUNTRY’S LEADERSHIP..

HE ADDED THAT KIBAARO DEMANDS THE RELEASE OF OUSAINOU BAYE SANKAREH AND ALL POLITICAL PRISONERS AND DETAINEES IN THE COUNTRY…

HE EXPLAINS THAT KIBAARO WILL KICK START A CAMPAIGN TO SECURE THE RELEASE OF MR SANKAREH THROUGH THE MEDIUM’S NEWSPAPER, RADIO AND TV. KIBAARO WILL ALSO ORGANISE DEMONTRATIONS ACROSS THE WORLD TO BRING THE PLIGHT OF MR SANKAREH AND MANY OTHER VICTIMS OF YAHYA JAMMEH —————

 

DETAINED JOURNALIST BROTHER FINALLY BAILED

March 27, 2014
Reads :1405
Critical Journalist Abubacarr Saidykhan

Critical Journalist Abubacarr Saidykhan

Pa Mboob, An Immigration Chief

Pa Mboob, An Immigration Chief

BY AN INSIDER

Ousman Saidykhan, the brother of an exile acclaimed journalist Abubacarr Saidykhan, has been bailed by one of his relatives in the Gambia at the immigration post of Banjul Station. The latest information we received from  the immigration information hub is that Ousman has attempted to renew his elder brother’s passport at the Immigration Department in Banjul last Tuesday as constituted by the Laws of the Gambia when he got arrested and detained for no other reason. It is his brother’s legal and a constitutional right like every citizen of the Republic of the Gambia to renew his or her passport when it expires.

The Immigration Department did not advance any reason pertaining to the sudden questioning and cross- examination of Ousman saidykhan in Banjul. According to a reliable source reaching Kibaaro News from the Immigration Department in Banjul, Abubacarr Saidykhan has legally paid all the passport fees at the Department before finally submitting the four different applications. The arrestee is currently reporting on bail on a daily basis to check- up his situation with the Immigration at the Baabunfatty Immigration Post. Their two passports are still awaiting approval at the Immigration Headquarters in Banjul after being duly paid for.

We respectfully called on the current Director of the Gambia Immigration Department Mr. Mboob to think of his legal responsibilities and act in accordance with the Gambian Constitution. Every Citizen of the Gambia is entitled to a legal passport provided that he/she met all the existing immigration criteria. We are hereby waiting for the respectful response of the Immigration Department with all due respect.

Stay tune for more reliable updates.

Esteem

 

Book Review: The Daring Feat Of A Young Gambian Journalist

February 14, 2014
Reads :4663

Book reviewer D. A. Jawo

Book reviewer D. A. Jawo

'Africa's Hell On Earth' by Journalist Omar Bah

‘Africa’s Hell On Earth’ by Journalist Omar Bah

By D. A. Jawo

Africa’s Hell on Earth, is quite a moving account of how a young Gambian journalist made a dramatic escape from possible torture and even ‘disappearance’ in the hands of the notorious Gambian security forces after his name was included in a list of socalled ‘informants’ of a US-based online newspaper often critical of the regime of Gambian President Yahya Jammeh. The list of ‘informants’ was made public after the Freedom newspaper’s website was hacked into by someone no doubt in the service of the Jammeh regime.

In the dawn of the New Millennium, Omar Bah was quite a rising star in Gambian journalism, attracting a wide range of readership, particularly for his incisive weekly column in the Daily Observer; “Bantaba” which he had been using to subject his guests to some grueling questioning.

Even though Omar was quite an ambitious young journalist who was eager to make his mark in Gambian journalism, but as news editor of the Daily Observer, which over the years was eventually transformed into the propaganda organ of the ruling APRC, he was quite constrained in what he could write. Therefore, because of the heavy censorship at the Daily Observer, Omar was no doubt looking for any other avenue to vent out his feelings about what was going on in the country, and as such, writing for the Freedom newspaper was quite an opportunity he never would have missed. However, writing for Freedom or any association with its editor, Pa Nderry Mbai, was considered by many people just as good as committing treasonable felony against the Jammeh regime and most of those whose names were on that list paid quite dearly for it.

In the book, Omar quite meticulously depicted the ordeal that Gambian journalists have been going through under the Jammeh regime, particularly his graphic description of the life-threatening ordeal he went through in the hands of the soldiers when he went to cover the court martial at the Yundum military barracks. However, what made the book even more interesting and captivating was how he managed to juxtapose his experiences at work and his depiction of life in his village, colorizing it with some of his dreams, mostly involving hyenas and other aspects of life in rural Gambia.

We saw in Chapter Five how Omar narrowly escaped capture at the Denton Bridge when one of the hundreds of heavily armed soldiers deployed in the Greater Banjul Area to look out for him, unhesitatingly let him go after identifying him among the passengers in a vehicle bound for Banjul. By letting Omar go, the soldier not only risked his own job and life, but he also had to forego promotion and even compensation with a lot of money and privileges if he had handed him over to the authorities. This is therefore yet another indication that not all members of the security forces are zombies who would obey all bad orders without question, but that some of them are quite ready to risk anything to do the right thing. Even the sympathy and prayers that Omar received from all his fellow passengers on the vehicle after the Denton Bridge encounter, was an indication of how the public seem not to be in support of the prevailing abuse of power in the country.

We also saw in Chapter Six how Omar’s father was illegally arrested, detained and tortured for several days on the orders of one of the regime’s thugs, simply because he was an opposition supporter, which is yet another indication that there is hardly any regard for the rule of law and that arbitrariness and abuse of power are the order of the day.

Omar went on to recount in detail his dramatic escape across the border into Senegal, the warm welcome he received from some Gambian exiles in Dakar, his relocation to Ghana and how he finally succeeded in getting resettled in the United States.

Africa’s Hell on Earth is not only an accurate account of what Gambian journalists have been going through since the coming into power of the Jammeh regime, but also a good depiction of life in rural Gambia. It is quite an invaluable reference material for all those interested in documenting the atrocities being committed against innocent Gambians by their own regime.

This 230 page paperback published by Tate Publishing is available on Amazon at the modest price of $17.09.

++++++

Gambia’s Greatest Need Is Leadership!

February 9, 2014
Reads :4047
Author: Abubacarr Saidykhan

Author: Abubacarr Saidykhan

By Journalist Abubacarr Saidykhan- Dakar

Gambia, our Dear Motherland, is currently crying and experiencing hunger for responsive, inspiring and meaningful leadership in this 21st Century, as the people of our beautiful land are temporarily detained and held captive in the midst of a serious power struggle between the Gambian Diaspora, who In many occasions would claimed to be striving to dislodge the repressive regime of our Current President Yahya Jammeh and his unpopular Government.

Now, at this Juncture, one may gather all the exclusive and the legal rights of making a cross-examinations and re- examinations of the level of procrastinations that is currently inflicted within the struggle, which is in no doubt leading to all these unwarranted debacles between the people of the same nation fighting to archive one aim and objectives towards the betterment of the future of our Country.  It goes without saying that all those who are intellectually using their six common senses when analysing serious issues of national concern, now came to the conclusion that our Country at this moment is going through a cold war between people of the same land, as to who will succeed the illegitimate regime of President Jammeh.

The proliferation of all these new organisations intending to fight against the ruthless Government of our nation is a step in the right direction. But one of the questionable questions we could all raise is that, why can’t we all realise the urgent and the fundamental need of rescuing our people and that of our beautiful nation before becoming the issue of the world headlines?, why are we finding it difficult to trust each other? What would we gain in fighting against each other? Are we not people of the same land, if I may ask? What is the ulterior motive that some of us are keeping in our chest in this struggle? Is it that we want to resuscitate vengeance post Jammeh era against ourselves? Who is that person enjoying and winning at the expense of our beautiful people by bringing up all these useless confrontations which we are promoting among ourselves? Are you thinking about the lives that have been illegally, unlawfully, and unconstitutionally condemned in our state Central prisons? Think about the little children’s whose parents have been disappeared without trace or detained without trial for numerous years without knowing who to ask questions about their love ones? How would it appear to you if you were a victim of such unfortunate circumstances? Do we expect to give inexcusable excuses to each other following a fatal destruction in our Country?

However, if the interest of our nation is at the centre of our hearts, then, I do not think these few questions would have been raised. Is it not time for us to make use of our degrees we bagged, and solve our collective problem once and for all? Is there anything for us to gain if our Country should turn into Chaos? Well, I will not believe if that should be what we wish for our Country.

Look, we have to be critical of each other only out of love. All criticisms have to be constructive and meaningful which will add substance in our sustainable national development, but not out of personal vendetta.

We should not be critical of anyone simply because we hate him. But we want to see a leader of our Country who will be more responsive to the needs and aspirations of the Gambian people particularly the poor! Because, nobody is talking about the poor in the Gambia. I stand to be corrected.

We want to see a leader in recent days- in our Political history, who will be able to challenge anyone in a Presidential platform debating on real issues that has to do with a road map of meaningful developments in our Country.

In addition, we the youths of aspirations, need to have a President post Jammeh Era, who will be presentable worldwide and will be able to understand the current affairs of the World, while responding to them positively and also be able to have the charisma and the leadership qualities in inspiring devotion in his/her youthful population, by convincing formidable and recognised investors to come and invest in our Country in order to see our Economy growing day- by- day, talk less of Employment opportunities.

My fellow Compatriots, greed in underneath lust for material gains, and greed in underneath self parochial interest, above what is in the best interest of the group or the entire nation will only lead us to astray. In fact, haven’t we already experienced that example of greed? Our country will never grow with a leadership that is only interested in fattening their pockets at the expense of the General Populace. Public interest can never be equated with executive interest. Then, now can you convince me if you are not struggling to fatten your pockets, if that is not the case, then what is the need for this unwarranted debacle amongst us? In my humble opinion, every legal Citizen of the Gambia has the exclusive right to vote and be voted for. But according to the present Constitution of our Country, anyone who holds a double citizenship can never run for President in the Republic of the Gambia. I am quite sure that this Constitutional provision is largely subjected to changes in the nearest future. It also goes without saying, that anyone who aspires to run for President in the Gambia must not be consecutively absent in the soil of the Gambia for more than five years.

Besides, the people of our Country currently need liberators and they are in a bad need of these persons. We want to see a leader who will come forward and vividly explain our collective problems and concerns to the world, a leader who will directly feel the inexplicable need of his/her people, a leader who will be able to solve all the previous and our current shortcomings, a leader who will have our Country at heart, a leader who will see the interest of our nation first before any other thing, a leader who by using his qualities of leadership will not be unable to appear as a unifying factor amongst our people, a leadership that will be able to resuscitate our broken diplomatic relations with that of the other powerful nations, because there is nothing more sacred than our people and freeing them from the grip of the enemy.

The Gambia, currently leaving in the darkness of Social Immorality, Political Instability, Economic Corruption, and Religious Misguidance, needs a leader who will emerge and make social and economic transformations and as well as sustainable reformations of all these drawbacks.

Thus, it is vividly clear to all of us that the Government of the Gambia has made an agreement with hell and a covenant with death, looking at the untold records of the height of human rights violations, crime against humanity, genocide, etc. If these records are anything to go buy, then why can’t we come together as people of one nation and safe both our Country and our People? In one of the best moments of our collective need for change.

It is possible for us to be united by our ideas instead of divided by our differences. Public opinion is what shapes the destiny of every nation in this 21st century. In the avoidance of all doubts, this is not the case in our country as we speak. Our Fathers, Mothers, Sisters, Brothers, Cousins, Nieces, Uncles, In laws, Relatives, Friends, Imams, Politicians, Journalist, Right Activists, Defenders of Human Rights, to mention but a few, have been continuously victimised, intimidated, molested, ostracised, and set aside by the heartless government of our Republic.

President Jammeh has corrupted some our compatriots and bribed others, he has helped to distort the truth and reduced our independence and our sovereignty into dishonour, but one of the fundamental lessons he needs to learn is that our collective faith and spirit in fighting against repression and perpetual freedom, will remain unshakable.

These facts, are all clear testimonies that we could use as material evidences to agitate our most urgent needed actions in regaining our dignity, integrity, as well as our sovereignty that has been dishonoured by the repressive regime of President Jammeh Nineteen years back. It is high time for us not to allow our governments to use sovereignty as a seal in brutalising our own people. How can you have a long term development without stability? And would you be able to have stability without development, if you continuously harassed the people you have sworn to protect from both internal and external aggressions?

Furthermore, anyone who succeeds President Jammeh, must bear in mind that democratic elections must be conducted within six months period, or in other words, two years. Recent experiences in Africa and the world at large, has taught us that elections with integrity gives legitimacy to the winner but also gives protection to the looser. All presidential aspirants post Jammeh era, must be ready to face the people directly. They must be ready to explain in clear and simple terms, the problems and drawbacks to the people of the Gambia and the motive behind the untold hardships, enough the words, the loopholes during the reign of President Jammeh. We will need an aspirant who will be able to restore hope, dignity, integrity, respect, to the lives of our people.

In conclusion, an aspirant who will be able to introduce new Educational Policies for our young people, Economic Policies, Political Policies, Social Policies, Defence Policies and as well as Health Policies, which will help to quickly restore the broken image of our nation to the beautiful view of the entire World.

Coming over to Senegal, the Senegalese government will never involve into our internal politics and this is due to numerous reasons which we all know and understand. There are many covenants and treaties signed between governments of different nations which have dealt with so many salient issues both internal and external. Looking at the government of Senegal in these presents days, one will come to the conclusion that they are not happy with what is currently occurring in Banjul, but they will not be able to interfere on their own provided that our renegade soldiers and that of our diplomatic dissidents are not willing to come forward and face the issue at home directly and democratically. In most of my discussions with some key figures in Senegal, all they indicated is that they have not yet seen anyone who seems to be serious in matters relating to our nation. They have posited that freedom can never be earned on a silver plate adding that we have to get up and put our foot down and insist that we must fight the battle for dignity and by regaining our individual sovereignty as well as the sovereignty of our collective nation.

Any transitional group that emerge with huge credibility while having in place a road map for the future of the Republic of the Gambia, will in no doubt be respected. It is time for us to stand up and make the brain to dominate the blood in our Country.

God bless the Republic of the Gambia, Africa and the Entire World at Large.

‘Detained Journalists Are Prisoners of Conscience’

January 16, 2014
Reads :2947
musa sheriff

Editor Musa Sheriff

Sainey

Journalist Sainey M.K. Marenah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amnesty International has described the detained journalists as “prisoners of conscience detained solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom expression.” The human rights body wants people to sign petition to the relevant Gambian authorities.

Journalists Musa Sheriff and Sainey M.K. Marenah have been in detention since 13 January. They have been charged with “giving false information to a public officer” following an article published in the privately-owned newspaper The Voice.

The journalists were charged with violating Chapter XIII of the Criminal Code, often used to target journalists who are exercising their freedom of expression. It is not clear whether Sheriff and Marenah will appear brought before a court of law within 72 hours or released.

The arrest, detention and subsequent detention of Musa and Sainey on December 9 followed the paper’s publication of a defection story of the ruling Alliance for Patriotic Re-Orientation and Construction (APRC) party to the opposition United Democratic Party (UDP). The paper ran a rejoinder after the APRC contested the story.

Plain clothes officers stormed The Voice offices in Serekunda, interrogated staff and requested copies of December 9th article. Security agents arrested Editor-In-Chief Musa Sheriff and escorted him to Sanyang police station. The author of the story Sainey Marenah, a freelance journalist turned himself in after he was summoned to Sanyany police.  The two have since been in police custody.

Amnesty International wants people to write immediately in English or your own language and do the following:

n  Calling on the Gambian authorities to release Musa Sheriff and Sainey M.K. Marenah immediately and unconditionally, as they are prisoners of conscience, detained solely for peacefully exercising their right to freedom of expression;

n  Urging them to remove unlawful restrictions on freedom of expression, association and assembly from the legislation in The Gambia.

PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 26 FEBRUARY 2014 TO:

 

Minister of Justice

Amie Joof

Ministry of Justice

Marina Parade

Banjul

The Gambia

Fax: +220 422 9908

Email: info@moj.gov.gm

Salutation: Dear Director


Minister of Interior and NGO Affairs

Ousman Sonko

Ministry of Interior and NGO Affairs

No.5 J.R. Forster Street (Ex. Fitzgerald

Street)

Banjul

The Gambia

Fax: +220 420 1320

Salutation: Dear Minister


And copies to:

Minister of Foreign Affairs, International

Dr Aboubacar Senghore

Corporation and Gambians Abroad

Ministry of Foreign Affairs

4, Marina Parade

Banjul

The Gambia

Email: info@mofa.gov.gm

Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country. Please insert local diplomatic addresses below: Name Address 1, Address 2, Address 3, Fax Fax number, Email, Email, address, Salutation, Salutation.

Ends

 

Gambian Editor Behind Bar Over Political Defection

January 14, 2014
Reads :4173

musa sheriffThe Editor of a private Gambian newspaper has been arrested by police in Sere Kunda on Monday morning. Musa Sheriff who publishes The Voice Newspaper  chief was whisked away by the police who escorted him to Sanyang police station in Kombo South where he is being held. 

According to confirmed sources, Mr. Sheriff is held in connection to a story he published in December 2013.  Mr. Sheriff originally hailed from Liberia but has lived in the Gambia for more than two decades.

The police went after him for publishing a story on the defection of 19 youths from the ruling Alliance for Patriotic, Re-orientation and Construction to the main opposition United Democratic Party. The defector were paraded at a UDP youth conference in Tanji, Kombo South last month. The aftermath of the conference culminated in mass arrest of opposition youths. One of the opposition youth leaders, Ebrima Solo Sandeng, is fighting for his freedom in court.

Mr. Musa Sheriff is currently languishing in Sanyang police cells pending his arraignment in court. Though it is not clear when Mr. Sheriff will appear in court, our sources said the police are on the verge of charging him for publishing false news.

Ends