Deyda Hydara

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News from the Committee to Protect Journalists, June 2014

CPJ releases annual exile report

In the run-up to World Refugee Day on June 20, CPJ brought the human toll of exile to the fore in its annual special report on exiled journalists. The report found that Syria, Ethiopia, and Eritrea are responsible for the most cases of journalists who flee.

The report spotlights the violence, imprisonment, and threats that have forced journalists into exile from some of the world's most repressive nations. Told in a narrative form, the report follows the stories of eight journalists from around the world who were forced to flee their homes.

The report was covered in local and international outlets including the Diplomatic Courier, Star Africa, Mexico's el Periodico Comentario, and Ecuador's Hoy.

June 30, 2014 2:09 PM ET

Alerts   |   Gambia

ECOWAS court rules Gambia failed to investigate journalist murder

The son of the late journalist Deyda Hydara, in blue, stands outside the ECOWAS court with his lawyers. (CPJ/Peter Nkanga)

Abuja, Nigeria, June 10, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes today's ruling by a West African regional court, which found that the Gambian government failed to conduct a meaningful investigation into the murder of journalist Deyda Hydara. The ruling is the first ECOWAS case relating to the murder of a Gambian journalist.

Blog   |   Gambia

More can be done to get justice for Deyda Hydara

Deyda Hydara and his wife Maria circa 1989 (Hydara family)

In the eight years since unidentified assailants shot and killed Deyda Hydara of the Gambia, no one has been held to account. The late 2004 murder of Hydara, an immensely respected editor, columnist, and press freedom advocate known for his criticism of President Yahya Jammeh's repressive media policies, became a rallying point for Gambian journalists and the human rights community--a symbol of the violent means by which activists and journalists are silenced and of the impunity that envelops acts of intimidation, ranging from arson to torture and murder. 

December 17, 2012 1:40 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Gambia

Gambian journalist threatened after writing on executions

Abubacarr Saidykhan (The Standard)

Lagos, Nigeria, November 16, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists today said it holds authorities in the Gambia responsible for the safety of a journalist who has received death threats following critical coverage of the government.

Abubacarr Saidykhan, a freelancer who contributes to several news websites, told CPJ that four unknown people on Tuesday threatened him at his Ebo Town residence in Kanifing Municipality, some seven miles (11 kilometers) from the capital Banjul. Saidykhan said he was near his compound gate with his brother when the men drove up in an unmarked vehicle with tinted windows and threatened to kill him next time they see him. One of the men called him "a very stubborn journalist" before they drove off.

  |   Afrique, Attaques contre la presse, Gambie

Attaques contre la presse en 2011: La Gambie

Plusieurs années de répression brutale orchestrée par le régime du Président Yahya Jammeh ont eu raison de la presse indépendante gambienne, jadis florissante, et contraint de nombreux journalistes à l'exil. En août, le gouvernement a contraint Taranga FM, la dernière radio indépendante qui diffusait l'infirmation en langues locales, à mettre fin à ses activités. Tout ce mouvement est intervenu avant l'élection présidentielle du mois d'octobre d'où Yaya Jammeh est sorti vainqueur sans véritable adversaire et ni aucune contestation. La répression officielle a revêtu plusieurs formes au fil des années ; elle s'est notamment traduite par des arrestations arbitraires, la censure, la fermeture forcée de médias, l'intimidation verbale et physique, des incendies criminels, et des poursuites sur fonds de lois restrictives. Ces actions, conjuguées aux attaques impunies contre des organes de presse et des journalistes, ont réduit toute la presse nationale à une poignée de journaux qui travaillent dans un climat de peur intense et d'autocensure. Dans sa politique de promotion de la Gambie au plan international comme une destination touristique de rêve, le gouvernement n'a pas respecté deux décisions de la Cour ouest africaine des droits de l'homme: l'une ordonnant la libération du journaliste « Chief » Ebrima Manneh, porté disparu depuis son interpellation de 2006, et l'autre enjoignant le gouvernement de dédommager un journaliste pour avoir été victime de détention illégale et de torture.

21 février 2012 4h55 ET

Attacks on the Press   |   Gambia

Attacks on the Press in 2011: Gambia

Years of brutal repression by President Yahya Jammeh’s administration have gutted Gambia’s once-vibrant independent press and driven numerous journalists into exile. In August, the government forced Taranga FM, the last independent radio station airing news in local languages, to halt its coverage. The move came ahead of an October presidential election in which Jammeh faced no viable opponent and brooked no dissent. Official repression has taken many forms over the years, including arbitrary arrests, censorship, forced closures of media outlets, verbal and physical intimidation, arson attacks, and prosecutions under restrictive legislation. These actions, coupled with impunity in attacks on media houses and journalists, have reduced the domestic news media to a handful of newspapers that operate under intense fear and self-censorship. While marketing the country internationally as an idyllic tourism destination, the government ignored two rulings by a West African human rights court: one ordering the release of reporter “Chief” Ebrima Manneh, who disappeared in state custody after his 2006 arrest, and another compelling the government to pay compensation to a journalist for illegal detention and torture.  

February 21, 2012 12:29 AM ET

Blog   |   Gambia

For Gambia's press, positive developments?

Gambian President Yahya Jammeh has reportedly asked for U.N. assistance to investigate the case of a missing journalist. (AFP/Seyllou)

Good news for Gambia's beleaguered independent press has been rare during President Yahya Jammeh's 17-year rule, but last week brought three potentially positive developments. It's unclear whether they mark a real change in the status quo, but they may at least increase the resolve of advocacy groups to seek improvements.

Blog   |   Gambia

Pursuing justice for Gambia's Deyda Hydara

Deyda Hydara and his wife Maria circa 1989 (Hydara family)

December 16 will be the seventh anniversary of the killing of Deyda Hydara, the dean of Gambian journalism. It is also the 20th anniversary of the first issue of The Point, the courageously independent-minded daily that Hydara founded and directed for many years. He was murdered in a drive-by shooting as he drove himself and two staff members home from an evening of somber celebration at The Point's premises. He had received multiple death threats in the preceding weeks and months. In his last column, he vowed to keep fighting to the end for Gambians' right to speak their minds.

Blog   |   Gambia

Jammeh to news media: I set limits on press freedom

No sacrifices to the "altar of freedom of the press," says Jammeh. (AFP)

Last week, Gambian President Yahya Jammeh participated in a rare meeting with select members of the West African nation's press corps. Jammeh spoke in favor of access to public information. He announced that he would allow The Standard newspaper to resume publication, five months after the National Intelligence Agency forced its editor, Sheriff Bojang, to halt production. But the president largely lashed out at the Gambian private press and critics of his repressive media policies in the meeting, a tense session that was broadcast on state television. Jammeh, a former army captain who seized power in a 1994 coup, spoke in a harsh and contemptuous tone as he addressed media owners invited to the State House in the capital, Banjul.

March 23, 2011 12:55 PM ET

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Letters   |   Gambia

In Gambia, Jammeh asked to clarify Manneh's 'death'

Dear President Jammeh: We request clarification of your March 16 comments suggesting "Chief" Ebrima Manneh, a reporter for the Daily Observer, may have died. Manneh disappeared after witnesses saw him being arrested by state security agents in the offices of the Daily Observer on July 7, 2007. The government has previously denied any knowledge of Manneh's fate.

March 21, 2011 3:50 PM ET

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