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June 17, 2009

Press Release

FAMEDEV and Radio AVG Condemn Arrests and Harassment of Gambian Journalists

The Inter Africa Network for Women, Media, Gender and Development (FAMEDEV) and Radio
Alternative Voice for Gambians (Radio AVG), a Dakar-based online radio that mainly monitors and
covers activities in The Gambia, today join rights and media groups in strongly condemning the mass
arrest of media practitioners, gatekeepers and members of the Executive of The Gambia Press Union
(GPU) in The Gambia.

On Monday June 15, seven journalists including newspaper editors and executive members of the
Gambia Press Union (GPU), were arrested and detained by members of the National Intelligence
Agency (NIA) and have since been held without charges or access by their families and lawyers.
Those being detained are: the First Vice President Sarata Jabbi who is a nursing mother with a six
months old infant, the Secretary General Emil Touray, the Treasurer Pa Modou Faal, the Editor and
Deputy Editor of the Point newspaper, Pap Saine and Ebrima Sawaneh respectively, and the Editor-in-
Chief and a reporter of Foroyaa newspaper Sam Sarr and Abubacarr Saidykhan. They were all arrested
in connection with a press release issued by the GPU in reaction to a state television interview in
which President Yahya Jammeh vilified Deyda Hydara, the murdered Editor of The Point newspaper
and made irresponsible comments about the state of press freedom in The Gambia.

This latest action is another manifestation of the heavy-handedness and intolerance of the Jammeh
regime towards journalists and media practitioners in the country. Over the past few years, The
Gambia has proved to be one of the most volatile countries to practice as an independent journalist.
Media practitioners, mainly local journalists have been threatened, arrested, detained, tortured,
murdered and forced to flee the country. Private radio stations and newspapers have been closed down
mainly because they refused to dance to the tune of the dictatorial regime of Yahya Jammeh.

We strongly call upon the authorities to release all the detained journalists with immediate effect. We
fear for the safety and security of our colleagues and therefore call on national, sub-regional and
international bodies and organisations to exert more pressure on the regime in the interest of press
freedom, freedom of expression, human rights, democracy and the rule of law.

We urge all foreign companies and nationals with business interests in The Gambia to not just care
about their business ventures and interests but to also conscientiously consider and raise human rights
issues in the country as a priority. We call on them to put pressure on the ruling government to respect
the rights and dignities of its citizens.

We reiterate our solidarity and unflinching support for our colleagues of the Gambia Press Union
(GPU) and all media practitioners and journalists in The Gambia in these challenging times.

For more information contact The Inter Africa Network for Women, Media, Gender and
Development, FAMEDEV and Radio Alternative Voice for The Gambia, AVG, at 00 221 33 867 55
98.