The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemns the shutting down of Teranga FM radio station and calls on the Gambian authorities to reopen the radio immediately.
" We call on the Gambian authorities to show a minimum of interest for freedom of expression by recalling this closure which is unwarranted ," said Gabriel Baglo, IFJ Africa Director.
According to members of the Gambian Press Union (GPU) an IFJ affiliate, the Taranga FM Radio was closed down about midnight on 14 August by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) whose agents came to the station on board three pick-up vehicles.
A top officer of the NIA told Ismaila Ceesay, the proprietor of the radio that they received directives to shut the station immediately. He didn't say who or where the directives came from, but asked for the names of board members, telephone numbers as well as the license of the station.
According to Ceesay, the closure of the station could be related to an interview he aired with the leader of the the opposition People's Progressive Party (PPP), Mr. Omar Jallow during which Mr. Jallow highlighted the violations of human rights and poor level of governance by the ruling authorities.
This is the third time the radio has been closed down by security officials. Earlier in January 2011, the radio station was ordered to cease operations only for it to resume broadcast after one month. Also in August 2011, the radio's managing director was invited to the headquarters of the NIA where, he was asked to suspend the radio station's daily review of news carried by the local newspapers in the country.
Teranga Fm has won praises from all layers of the society at large for the impartiality and the professionalism of the staff. The radio is well known for its live weekly talk show, which features interviews from both the ruling party and opposition parties.
For more information contact the IFJ: 221 33 867 95 86/87
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries