At least 105 people have lost their jobs due to the abrupt closure of the Gambia’s biggest newspaper, The Daily Observer.
The paper was closed by Gambian authorities over allegations of tax evasion amounting to $425,000 dollars.
The Gambia Press Union and the Ministry of Information urged tax authorities and the management of the paper to go into talks to have the paper reopened.
Most staff at the Daily Observer are head of households depending on their work to provide for their families.
Unemployed in the Gambia is high and government figures pin it at 38 percent, a number that some say is even higher than reported.
Gambia Revenue Authorities said the Daily Observer had defaulted on payment plans that were agreed to by its management.
Some consider the closure of the paper to be politically targeted. It had served as the mouthpiece of the dictatorial regime of former strongman, Yahya Jammeh.
Authorities say the closure had nothing to do with the paper’s editorial policy and denied targeting them.
Jammeh placed hefty taxes on newspapers to stifle dissent and his government frequently arrest and detain journalist on flimsy and superficial charges.