By A Staff Writer

Gambia ALERT: Two journalists arrested, detained

Two journalists in Gambia, Modou Sonko, head of the lithographic section of Daily Observer, a pro-government Banjul-based newspaper and Isaac Success, production assistant of Daily Express, a privately-owned newspaper, were on March 3, 2007 arrested by personnel of the notorious National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) sources say although no reasons were given for their arrest, it might be due to a production work on an edition of the Daily Express, they undertook at the premises of Daily Observer without permission from its management.

The sources said it is normal practice for journalists in Gambia working with different media outlets to collaborate with one another in the production of their various newspapers without permission..

According to sources, a senior member of the Daily Observer unhappy with the work of the two journalists, invited the officials of NIA to arrest them.

Gambian journalists are threatened daily, imprisoned or attacked because of their work. Journalists of the “Daily Observer, in particular, have been denied editorial independence since Amadou Samba, close associate of President Jammeh, bought the newspaper from its founder, the deported Liberian journalist, Kenneth Best. Best was
deported soon after Jammeh came to power in 1994, for alleged criticism of the regime.

The arbitrary arrests and detentions of Sonko and Success violate the 1997 Constitution of the Gambia.

The MFWA demands that, in the absence of any valid charges against the two, they should be released immediately without any condition, or in the case of valid charges against them, they should be brought before an impartial court without delay.

Prof. Kwame Karikari
Executive Director
MFWA
Tel: 233 21 242470
Fax: 233 21 221084

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