Gambia reopens pro-opposition newspaper

An opposition newspaper in The Gambia has resumed publication two weeks after its closure by authorities in the small nation.

The Daily Observer Newspaper, which is the country’s first daily paper was shut down over allegations of tax evasion by revenue authorities.

Gambia Revenue Authority, the body responsible for collecting taxes said the newspaper, which was controlled by the ex-president, Yahya Jammeh owes $425,000 dollars (D17 million dalasis) in back taxes.

The paper has reported not paid any taxes since Jammeh took ownership of the paper at the start of the new Millennium.

Revenue chief, Yankuba Darboe said the paper has ignored payment arrangements agreed to but has temporarily agreed to re-open it pending other measures and a court ruling.

He has vowed to have the paper closed as many times as possible until arrears are paid and agreements adhered to.

Opposition members, mostly supporters of former President Jammeh accused authorities of targeting the paper for its editorial policies.

Gambia’s information ministry denied the allegations and says it regrets the closing of the flagship newspaper, at one time, one of the Gambia’s most respected.

Observer continues to support Jammeh, who was booted out of power in January and forced to flee after losing last year’s presidential polls.

The paper’s birthday wishes to the ex-ruler angered many and have reportedly seen a decline in advert revenue by the company.

The paper, which employs some 105 people is widely believed to owned by Mr. Jammeh and the paper’s editorial continues to support and report favorably of the ex-president and his APRC party.

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