Media bodies criticise arrest of seven Gambian journalists

June 24th, 2009 - 11:54 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, June 24 (IANS) Commonwealth Journalists Association (CJA) president Hassan Shahriar has expressed “shock and outrage” at the arrest last week of seven Gambian journalists, saying government’s anti-democratic actions “are another stain on the country’s already poor international reputation”.
The seven were charged with conspiracy and sedition for issuing a statement on June 12 criticising the Gambian President Yahya Jammeh for his comments on the unsolved 2004 murder of a prominent editor, Deyda Heydara, in the west African nation.

The Gambian government’s action has also been criticized by the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA), Reporters Without Borders (RSF), the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ).

“A political leader who reacts in such a draconian manner to fair journalistic comment and reporting is a political leader with something to hide,” Shahriar said, adding: “We are appalled at the treatment of these journalists and insist they are released immediately.”

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