Supporters of three parties that are part of the Gambia’s unity government attacked a journalist after demanding definite answers from three ministers at a conference.
Gambian journalist Kebba Jeffang suffered bruises and his shirt read: “world press freedom day” was torn after being hit and insulted by supporters of the UDP, NRP and GMC.
The three parties have decided to split from a group of eight opposition parties to contest next month’s parliamentary polls and Mr. Jeffang demanded to know why they are splitting.
The press conference, held at the UDP Manjai Bureau was packed with supporters of the three parties, according to reporters and attended by Foreign Minister Ousainou Darboe, Tourism Minister Hamat Bah and Interior Minister Mai Ahmad Fatty.
“It is an irresponsible decision in the first place to allow their supporters to contest the press conference room to intimidate the journalists and use vulgar words directed at Mr. Jeffang in their presence,” said journalist Modou S. Joof.
The Gambia Press Union says the attack is “totally unacceptable” and its members are asking for those responsible to be held accountable for attacking the press.
No arrests have been made. It is the first assault on journalists since the ouster of longstanding autocratic ruler Yahya Jammeh.
Gambia’s President Adama Barrow has promised press freedom in the West African nation, whose former regime stifled media freedom through a combination of criminal prosecutions, physical intimidation, censorship, and the promotion of government views in state-run or friendly private outlets.