The Gambia Press Union condemns President Barrow’s Eid remarks, insinuating the media is contributing to the destabilisation of the country by giving a platform to one of his leading critics. Barrow’s statement accusing Gambian journalists of giving a platform to human rights activist, Madi Jobarteh, who criticised his government over mismanagement of public funds, a platform to “burn The Gambia” is unacceptable.
Giving voices to those who hold the government to account is fundamental to the media’s watchdog role which is guaranteed by the Gambian Constitution. Barrow had in the past accused journalists of bias, leading to physical assaults on journalists by his supporters and State House staff in 2018 and 2021 with impunity. “We are reminding the president to uphold his responsibility to protect press freedom and freedom of expression as guaranteed by the laws of the Gambia,” GPU President, Muhammad S. Bah, said.
The GPU is also concerned that the president’s remarks and the personal attack on the human rights activist could have the potential to stifle freedom of speech and expression.