Gambia: Journalist harassed for reporting farmers' complaints
|Publisher||Committee to Protect Journalists|
|Publication Date||10 January 2012|
|Cite as||Committee to Protect Journalists, Gambia: Journalist harassed for reporting farmers' complaints, 10 January 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/4f3913ae0.html [accessed 25 December 2014]|
|Disclaimer||This is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.|
New York, January 10, 2012 – Police in Gambia are harassing a journalist for reporting farmers' complaints against a local official accused of mismanaging public resources, according to local journalists and news reports.
Momodou Jallow (Daily News)
A plainclothes police officer picked up reporter Momodou S. Jallow of the private Daily News on Friday while he was covering a public meeting of a local rice growers' cooperative in Brikamaba village in central Gambia, Jallow told CPJ. The journalist said he was detained for five hours in Basang police station and accused of "inciting violence" with a January 4 story based on interviews with local farmers who accuse a local official, Chief Mamadou Lamin Baldeh, of mismanaging public assets.
Jallow reported back to the police station on Monday and was told to report back again next Monday, according to local journalists. He has not been charged. The Daily News on Monday quoted Gambian National Police Spokesman Yerro Mballow as saying Jallow would be taken to court and charged with one count of libel, a criminal offense.
"Gambian police must immediately stop harassing Momodou Jallow for giving voice to farmers' grievances," said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita. "Repeatedly summoning a journalist to court and threatening him with charges is intimidation designed to silence criticism."
In Jallow's story in the Daily News, a rice farmer accused Chief Baldeh of misallocating a ticket sponsored by President Yahya Jammeh to travel to the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, known as the hajj. The article also cited farmers raising questions about Baldeh's management of the finances of a local cooperative.