Malick D. Cham
Malick D. Cham, a presenter with Jamano Media and Products, was one of three journalists attacked on May 31, 2023, by security guards working for Gambia’s ruling National People’s Party. Cham’s camera operator, Sanneh Samba, and Pa Ousman Joof, founder of Gambia Talents Television, were also attacked during the incident, in the capital city of Banjul. (Facebook/Jamano Media)

Gambian party security guards attack 3 journalists for filming politician

On May 31, 2023, four security guards working for Gambia’s ruling National People’s Party grabbed, repeatedly punched, and poured water on Malick D. Cham, a presenter with the online broadcaster Jamano Media and Products, after the journalist tried to film an NPP politician and another man arguing at a mayor’s swearing-in ceremony in the capital city of Banjul, Cham told CPJ.

The guards also grabbed, slapped, and pushed Pa Ousman Joof, founder and global coordinator of Gambia Talents Television, when he attempted to film the men attacking Cham, according to a report by the privately owned The Standard news site, as well as Cham and Joof, who also spoke with CPJ. The guards also hit Cham’s camera operator, Sanneh Samba, on the waist with an electric shock baton, Cham and Joof said.

Cham told CPJ he was making his way out of the Banjul City Council building after covering the ceremony when he and Samba spotted an NPP politician arguing with a man. Shortly after Sambabegan filming the argument, one of the politician’s security guards knocked the camera out of his hand, causing the lens to hit the ground and crack, according to Cham and the chief executive officer of Jamano Media, Alhagie Mamat Janha, who spoke by phone with CPJ.

Cham and Samba tried to explain to the security guards that they were doing their job and should be allowed to freely cover what was happening. Another guard then grabbed Cham by the neck and punched his mouth, drawing blood, while a third guard splashed a bottle of water across the journalist’s body, Cham told CPJ, adding that he told the guards he would defend himself with his tripod if they continued to attack.

A fourth guard then joined the attack, hitting Cham on the nose with an electric shock baton, which also drew blood. Cham ran from the guards, according to the journalist and footage of the incident recorded by Joof, which CPJ reviewed. The guards chased him down, grabbed him, and tried to drag him, but bystanders intervened and allowed him to escape, Cham said.

The guards also briefly slapped and grabbed Joof until police intervened and allowed him to leave, Joof told CPJ.

Cham said he described the incident to other journalists at the scene and reported it to the local police station with Janha. He also went to a local hospital and received treatment to stop the bleeding and heal the wounds to his mouth and nose.

Cham also said that neither he nor his employer had heard from police as of June 26.

CPJ’s calls and text messages to Banjul police spokesperson Binta Njie went unanswered as of June 26.

NPP spokesperson Seedy Njie issued a public apology for the incident, but the journalists rejected the apology since it did not reference their names, according to a June 6 report in The Standard. CPJ’s messages to the NPP spokesperson went unanswered.