The Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) has today welcomed the judgment of the Court of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) calling on The Gambia to review the repressive laws on criminal libel, sedition and false news.
In a landmark judgement delivered today, 14 February 2018, the Court ruled that the rights of four journalists were violated by the actions of the Gambian authorities through the enforcement of obnoxious laws on criminal libel, sedition and false news. In addition, the court ruled for the compensation of the four journalists and ordered the Gambian authorities to “repeal or amend the relevant laws.”
“We commend the judgment of this progressive Court and call for the implementation of the decision by the current authorities of The Gambia.” Said Abdulwaheed Odusile, President of FAJ. “The new Gambia deserves legislation that is media friendly and conform to the African Charter and to the Declaration of Principles on Freedom of Expression in Africa.”
The Federation of African Journalists brought the case as the representative of Gambian journalists whose rights have been violated under the administration of President Yaya Jammeh, and pursuant to the repressive laws of criminal libel, sedition and false news. The case was also brought by four Gambian journalists who were arrested, detained, and later fled the country. Two of the journalists underwent torture at the hands of the agents of the famous National Intelligence Agency (NIA). The Media Legal Defence Initiative (MLDI) worked with the Federation of African Journalists, the four Gambian journalists, and a team of international lawyers and lawyers from the chambers of Noah Ajare in Abuja to file the case in December 2015.
The FAJ calls on the Government of President Adama Barrow to implement the decision of the ECOWAS Court, especially by compensating the journalists concerned and by executing the reforms that the Court has specifically recommended.
The FAJ represents 50,000 journalists in Africa