We the participants of the Forum of NGOs participating at the 37th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ rights and the 11th African human rights book fair held at the Corinthia Atlantic Hotel, Banjul, Gambia from April 24 to 26, 2005,
Deeply concerned about the adoption of repressive press laws that legitimate the maltreatment of media practitioners in The Gambia
Gravely concern about the harassment and intimidation of journalists, arson attacks on media houses and practitioners, arbitrary arrest and the recent killing of Mr. Deyda Hydara, Managing Editor of the Point Newspaper on December 16th 2004
Considering the lack of professionalism and training on ethnical journalism that continues to make media practitioners and the media easy targets for manipulation
The Forum urges the African Commission
1. To monitor the freedom of expression in The Gambia, most especially in relation to the recent killing of Mr. Deyda Hydara, Managing Editor of the Point Newspaper, the numerous arsons attacks on the media and the intimidation of journalists
2. To urge the Gambia Government to investigate the killing of Deyda Hydara and to bring the perpetrator(s) of this crime to justice
3. To further urge the Gambia Government to respect the right to freedom of expression and to comply with the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the Declaration of Principles on the Freedom of Expression in Africa
4. To urge State parties to comply with the Declaration of Principles on the Freedom of Expression in Africa, and to uphold their responsibilities.
The Forum’s Recommendation to the State Parties on the Freedom of Expression in Africa
1. To provide adequate resources, assistance and support for the training of media practitioners in order to promote professionalism and to form alliances with relevant stakeholders such as regional media groups, State media and the general public
2. To remove all restrictions placed on broadcasting that prevents a diverse and independent dissemination of information.
3. to abolish the monopoly of broadcasting by the states, which is not compatible with the rights to freedom of expression as reflected in Article 5 of the Declaration on Principles of Freedom of Expression in Africa.
4. To create the enabling environment that would enhance the free flow of information in the continent
Done in Banjul, 26th April, 2005