Panafrican News Agency

Two radio stations shut down, 4 journalists arrested in Gambia

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - Two radio stations in Gambia - Home Digital FM and King FM - were shut down on Sunday, while four journalists were arrested and detained by the government.

Pa Modou Bojang, proprietor of Home Digital FM radio and Mengbekering online TV in Brikama, was arrested and the radio station shut down by security forces following a broadcast on the protest movement, 'Operation 3 Years Jotna’ meaning three years are up.

King FM Managing Director Jibbi Jallow, as well as Ebrima Jallow Fula, a programme presenter and a journalist were also arrested Sunday. All three are detained at the Bundung Police Station 18km outside Banjul.

The Jonta movement is seeking the resignation of President Adama Barrow to fulfil his pledge to the coalition on whose ticket he ran for president in 2016 that he will serve only three years of the five-year term.

The Gambia government on Sunday banned a self-styled protest group “Three Years Jotna”, calling it “a subversive, violent and illegal movement”.

Saikou Jammeh secretary general of Gambia Press Union confirmed the arrest and detention of the journalists and closure of the stations.

“The station has been forced off air #PressFreedom under attack in The Gambia, a country that’s supposed to be dancing to the tunes of its new found global acclaim as defender of human rights,” he said.

The independent Home Digital FM station is accused by authorities for allegedly releasing confidential state reports on its programmes.

The station, which is currently under police guard, was stormed by a crowd demanding that the station should be opened but the security dispersed them.

The station's Manager, Omar Fofana, in an interview with reporters said they have all legal rights to operate as a private radio station.

He said the arrest of their proprietor and subsequent shutdown of two radio stations threaten media freedom adding that the release of their proprietor will not be based on negotiation but on legal grounds.

“We know we are a target of the state authorities because of our focus on national issues but this will not stop our ambitions. The arrest of our proprietor and the closure of two radio station threaten to media freedom which should be a concern to all in the media fraternity,” he said.     

The executive members of the Gambia Press Union have visited the radio station and the police station where Mr. Bojang is being detained.

-0- PANA MSS/MA 27Jan2020