Gambian authorities have denounced the assault on a journalist on Sunday outside the bureau of a major political party, the UDP outside the capital, Banjul.
Interior Minister Mai Ahmad Fatty condemned the attack on journalist Kebba Jeffang as “outrageous, reprehensible and utterly unacceptable.”
“Attacking anyone or a journalist on account of his or her legitimate views or inquiries duly expressed either privately or publicly is totally outrageous, reprehensible and utterly unacceptable,” Mr. Fatty said. “Differences of political views are normal in any democracy and are healthy for the polity, and it should be done peacefully.”
Fatty was at the press conference in Manjai where Mr. Jeffang was assaulted but no arrests were made. Two other ministers: Minister of Foreign Affairs Ousainou Darboe and Minister of Tourism Hamat Bah who are the leaders of the UDP and NRP parties were also present.
“Someone has to be held accountable for the assault on our colleague… If the three leaders cannot control their supporters from attacking a journalist in their presence, then they are not well placed to run a country,” said journalist Lamin Jahateh.
Activists want the party leaders to be held accountable for the behavior of their supporters.
Gambia’s President Adama Barrow promised press freedom and Mr. Fatty said both the governing and the governed have the right to free speech and called journalists “partners, not objects of ridicule or scorn.”
“Freedom of the press is here to stay for good, and our commitment to this inalienable constitutional right is there for all to see and experience,” Fatty said.