3 March 1998


Continued lockout of radio station

Incident details

legal action

(RSF/IFEX) - According to RSF, on 7 February 1998, authorities closed radio
Citizen FM, officially citing Citizen FM's failure to pay the US$ 2,500
licensing fee as the reason for the closure. Since then, members of the
Police Intervention Unit have been impeding access to the premises of the
radio station, which is shared by the newspaper "New Citizen." As a result,
"New Citizen" has not been able to publish for nearly a month.

**Updates IFEX alerts dated 9, 13 and 19 February 1998**

Background Information

According to an IFEX alert issued by the International Press Institute
(IPI), on 5 February 1998, Boubacar Gaye and Ebrima Sillah, the proprietor
and news editor respectively of Citizen FM radio, were arrested by members
of the National Intelligence Agency (NIA). Soon after, NIA officials and
more than a dozen armed soldiers sealed off the Citizen FM station and
ordered all staff members to leave the premises. The detention of Gaye and
Sillah came shortly after Citizen FM broadcast a story claiming that the
NIA's Director of Operations had been sacked in connection with an alleged
counterfeit scandal. According to IPI, the Ministry of Information, in
consultation with the Ministry of Justice, issued an official statement
which stated that the broadcasting of rumors about a staff shake-up at the
NIA was "irresponsible" and "deceptive", and violated both national security
interests and the conditions under which radio and newspaper licenses are

Recommended Action

Send appeals to authorities:

  • reminding them that The Gambia has ratified the International Covenant on
    Civil and Political Rights, article 19 of which guarantees the freedom to
    inform and to be informed
  • asking them to fulfil their obligations towards the international community
  • appealing to them to do everything in their power to allow access to the
    premises of the "New Citizen" so that it may resume publishing

    Appeals To

    His Excellency Colonel (Retd.) Yahya Jammeh
    President of the Second Republic of The Gambia
    Office of the President
    State House
    Banjul - The Gambia
    Fax: +220 227 034

    Please copy appeals to the source if possible.

  • Source

    Reporters Without Borders
    47, rue Vivienne
    75002 Paris
    rsf (@) rsf.org
    Fax:+33 1 45 23 11 51
    The Gambia

    IFEX members working in this country 1

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