Ebrima Manneh

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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

U.S. senator again presses Gambia on missing journalist

Amnesty International campaigns in front of U.S. Congress. (Ilona Kelly)

On Thursday, U.S. Senator Richard Durbin sent a letter to Gambia's justice minister, Edward Gomez, renewing his appeal for the release of local journalist Ebrima "Chief" Manneh. Manneh disappeared more than five years ago after security agents seized him at the offices of his newspaper, the Daily Observer.

November 3, 2011 3:55 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Gambia

Gambian minister should disclose Manneh's fate

Gambian Press Union
New York, October 11, 2011 - An official of the Gambian government publicly indicated knowledge of the whereabouts of missing journalist Ebrima "Chief" Manneh, according to news reports. The government, which has repeatedly denied any involvement in Manneh's 2006 disappearance, must immediately disclose the details of his status, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.
October 11, 2011 4:41 PM ET

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Blog   |   Gambia

Gambia VP touts tourism, downplays human rights issues

Gambian Vice-President Isatou Njie-Saidy (AFP)

The Gambia has an image problem: Dubbed the "Smiling Coast of Africa," it is a tourist destination, but its government has one of the region's worst records of human rights abuses. On Tuesday, at an African tourism promotion event in New York City, Gambian Vice-President Isatou Njie-Saidy headed a delegation working toward improving the negative perceptions of the country.

In a discussion with Njie-Saidy after the event, I mentioned to her that an Internet search of the Gambia yields many results about its human right abuses. In response, she shifted the topic to the United States: "Do they tell you about Guantánamo Bay? Seems like a human rights issue," she said. "And, you know, in the Internet, you have a lot of garbage. ... Don't believe everything you read: You have to look in between." She later accused social media of peddling untruths: "Social media is the problem," she said.

September 21, 2011 3:26 PM ET

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Alerts   |   Gambia

Jammeh must disclose knowledge of Manneh's fate

Gambian Press Union

New York, July 6, 2011--Gambian President Yahya Jammeh must clarify his March 16 comments suggesting that detained journalist "Chief" Ebrima Manneh has died, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. CPJ's call comes ahead of the fifth anniversary of the July 7, 2006, arrest of Manneh, left, who disappeared after being taken into government custody.

July 6, 2011 4:53 PM ET

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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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Blog   |   Gambia, Security, USA

Jammeh 'award' coverage reflects chill in Gambian press

Jammeh may be a Nebraska "admiral," but he was not commended by Obama. (Reuters)

"President Jammeh bags 4 awards," trumpeted a September 17 headline of the Daily Observer, a pro-government newspaper in the Gambia, a West African nation whose idyllic façade as "the smiling coast of Africa" is maintained in part by President Yahyah Jammeh's brutal repression of the independent press. 

September 24, 2010 3:26 PM ET

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Blog   |   Gambia

Gambia's 'Smiling Coast' hides local media's grimace

A billboard for a tourism conference in Gambia. (CPJ)

Who would not like to enjoy luxurious beach resorts and quaint fishing villages on the “Smiling Coast of Africa”? This is the pitch that the Gambian government made to participants of an international tourism conference last week. In fact, behind the idyllic facade of a tropical paradise wedged on Africa's western Atlantic coast is the grimace of Gambia's independent press. 

May 24, 2010 12:36 PM ET

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Blog   |   Gambia

Durbin, Senate colleagues press for Manneh’s release

Gambia Press Union

For more than two years, U.S. Sen. Richard J. Durbin and a group of Senate colleagues have been pressing for the release of Gambian journalist “Chief” Ebrima Manneh, left. In July 2006, security agents arrested Manneh at his workplace at the Daily Observer and have since held him incommunicado and without charge. On Thursday, Durbin and four other senators sent a letter to Kamalesh Sharma, secretary-general of the Commonwealth of Nations, urging him to launch an investigation into the case. 

March 19, 2010 10:15 AM ET

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