Media houses and journalists in the Gambia continue to face challenges in freedom of expression. Also the journalists in the state and private media are limited and constrained by censorship to critically engage in raising consciousness on national issues and concern. It is urgent to replace criminal defamation laws with civil laws that ensure greater compliance with international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Right.
I will seek to decriminalize media offences by repealing these sections in the Criminal Code in protection of freedom of expression and the media:
- Section 47 and 48 on the prohibition of the importation of publications
- Section 51 and 52 on sedition
- Section 60 on the defamation of ‘foreign princes’ and ambassadors
- Section 114 on freedom of speech and association
- Section 167 on discrimination
- Section 178 on criminal defamation
- Section 181A on false news publication and broadcasting
- Review the Newspaper Act 2004 to bring it in line with Chapter 4 of the Gambia Constitution and Article 19 of both the UDHR and ICCPR by drastically reducing the exorbitant fee for operating a newspaper.
- Review the Information and Communications Act 2009 to bring it in line with fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution and international human rights standards and in particular reverse the amendments relating to the use of the internet.
Information is power, and an informed citizenry is a fundamental requirement for democracy to flourish. To achieve this, I will:
- Create an enabling environment to encourage companies/entrepreneurs to apply for licenses to operate an independent T.V station taking into consideration the best interest of the nation.
- Introduce civic education as an integral program on both radio and television.
- Ensure that all contending parties in the Gambia will be given equal opportunities for adequate access to the state media.Type your paragraph here.