APRC Chief Mobilizer and Mayor of Kanifing Yankuba Colley is now blaming the media for the political standoff in the country. Colley accused the media of bias and hating Jammeh’s administration.
The mayor also accused foreign media network TFM of leading a hate propaganda to influence Senegalese authorities.
“Journalists are part of the problem in the political situation of the country,” said Colley. “Senegal hates the Jammeh government for a reason and TFM is the propaganda machinery.”
At least one reporter of TFM has been expelled out of the country.
President Yahya Jammeh lost elections last month and initially accepted defeat. A political standoff ensued after Jammeh made a U-turn refusing to leave. It came shortly after the Guardian published a report quoting a senior member of the winning coalition demanding Jammeh be arrested and prosecuted.
Gambian authorities stifle media freedom through a combination of criminal prosecutions, physical intimidation, censorship, and the promotion of government views in state-run or friendly private outlets. The government has ignored regional court decisions ordering it to end impunity for past crimes against journalists.
“When they talk about rights, freedom of the press and saying this country is a hell for journalists. There are freedoms and responsibilities,” President Jammeh once said. “The journalists are less than 1% of the population and if anybody expects me to allow less than 1% of the population to destroy 99% of the population, you are in the wrong place.”
The manager of one of the country’s few remaining independent radio stations, Taranga FM, was detained in July 2015 charged with sedition and a UN report released in March last year found that state intimidation of journalists in the Gambia amounted to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or even torture.
The Gambia Press Union has filed a petition in the Supreme Court to have the colonial old Sedition law repealed. The Sedition law with false information law and amendment to the communication act restricting reporting on the internet has thrown newsrooms into self-censorship.
This year, four radio station have been closed for covering news and events surrounding the political impasse in the country sparked by President Yahya Jammeh’s refusal to leave.