Gambian journalists welcome ECOWAS Court ruling on media laws

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - The Gambia Press Union (GPU) has welcomed the ruling by the Abuja-based ECOWAS Court of Justice on Wednesday that ordered the government to repeal the laws of sedition, criminal defamation, false publication on the internet and false publication and broadcasting.

“This ruling by the ECOWAS Court is timely. It comes at a time we are working closely with the government and other media stakeholders with a view to reforming the media laws,” GPU President, Bai Emil Touray said in a statement on Thursday.

Moreover, it said, these laws are also a subject of deliberation at the Supreme Court of The Gambia where the Union is expecting a judgment in the coming months.

"So, it is an important step in our drive to contribute to creating an enabling environment for press freedom as well as help the current administration to fulfill the promise it made to the electorate in the run-up to the presidential elections held in December 2016."

In 2015, the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) along with four Gambian exiled journalists, namely, Fatou Camara, Lamin Fatty, Alagie Jobe and Fatou Jaw Manneh, filed a suit against the Gambia government at the sub-regional court.

The complainants sought an order from the court to condemn Gambia’s criminalization of speech through sedition, false news and defamation laws.

After three years of deliberations, the ECOWAS Community Court has ordered the Gambia government to repeal or amend the said laws.

The court held that the enforcement of these anti-free speech laws is a violation of freedom of expression and press freedom and are not in line with regional and international standards of freedom of expression.
-0- PANA MSS/ 15feb 2018

15 فبراير 2018 17:11:47

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