Gambia: Journalist Brutally Assaulted and Arrested

Ugandan soldiers beating up Reuters photojournalist James Akena as he covered the protests over the detention of several Opposition MPs in Kampala.
press release

A journalist was brutally assaulted by the Gambian police while covering a story on 18 June.

The International Federation of journalists (IFJ) joins its affiliate the Gambian Press Union (GPU) in condemning these acts of violence and intimidation, and asks for an immediate investigation.

Journalist Pa Modou Bojang of Home Digital FM was brutally assaulted, manhandled and later arrested by the members of the Police Intervention Unit (PIU) on Monday, 18 June at Faraba Banta, Kombo East, some 52 kilometers away from the capital, Banjul. The assault occurred as he was covering a story on sand mining by a private company in the village.

According to the GPU, Pa Modou was slapped on the face and repeatedly beaten by the PIU officials while being insulted because of his professional status.

Pa Modou sustained injuries to his head and jaw. He was arrested by the PIU and detained for six hours at the Brikama Police Station and later released without charge. However, he did not recover his audio recorder from the police.

"Pa Modou was simply performing his professional duties, while he got attacked. This violence against one of our colleagues is intolerable and we demand a full investigation." said IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger.

The GPU Secretary General, Saikou Jammeh, said: "Enough is enough. These attacks are a step backwards for press freedom in The Gambia. We will take all measures appropriate and necessary to ensure that the perpetrators of this attack face justice and the journalist is rewarded for damages."

The IFJ calls upon the Government of The Gambia to guarantee the safety and security of journalists and the entire citizenry and to create a conducive environment where journalists and all citizens can work without fear. "The Gambia Government must understand that an attack on journalists and the media is a direct assault on democracy."

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