Gambia’s press union says the attack on a journalist after a press conference by supporters of three government ministers is regrettable and unfortunate.
“The attack perpetrated by parties who form part of the government that promised a new dawn of freedom for the press corp in the Gambia. It is a violation of constitutional provisions that guarantee the freedom and independence of the media and failure to adequately address it will tantamount to impunity,” a statement from the union read.
Three ministers were at the conference, including the Interior Minister Mai Ahmad Fatty. Activists have called for the swift investigation of the incident and those found wanting to be held accountable.
Gambia’s President Adama Barrow has pledged that his government will support and ensure press freedom, a promise the GPU says he must translate to action by publicly condemning the unwarranted conduct that threatens and dents his government’s outlook as a democracy.
Activists have demanded an apology from the three ministers: Mai Ahmad Fatty, Ousainou Darboe and Hamat Bah, who have partnered to form a tactical alliance for their party members to seek parliamentary positions.
Gambian authorities were notorious for stifling 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, then under President Yahya Jammeh has ignored regional court decisions ordering it to end impunity for past crimes against journalists.