6 July 2000

Alert

Judge rules in favour of independent radio station


Incident details

Baboucar Gaye

radio station(s)

legal action

(ARTICLE 19/IFEX) - A case which the Gambian authorities have been dragging out since February 1998 was finally resolved on 3 July 2000, when a judge ruled in favour of an independent radio station.


In February 1998, Baboucar Gaye, the proprietor of Citizen FM, a private radio station, was arrested by the police and briefly detained. The station was closed down by the authorities and essential equipment confiscated. Six months later, he was convicted of operating a radio station without a licence and was ordered to pay a fine and to forfeit the station's equipment to the government.


On 3 July 2000, the presiding judge quashed the conviction and sentence as well as the forfeiture of the radio station to the state. "The order of this court is that the respondents (the state) restore to the appellant (Baboucar Gaye) his radio and apparatus within seven days," the judgement concluded. Citizen FM has clearly been singled out for rough justice. The authorities appear to have been particularly concerned that reports in the English-language independent media were, thanks to Citizen FM, reaching a far broader audience through radio broadcasts made in both Mandinka and Wolof, two of the most widely spoken languages in The Gambia. Citizen FM's broadcasts, which were listened to by a large number of people in the Greater Banjul area, were an embarrassing counterpoint to the anodyne broadcasts of the state-owned Gambia Radio and Television Service (GRTS).


ARTICLE 19's two reports on the Gambia, the second of which focuses on this case are:
Unfinished Business (Freedom of Expression in Gambia, 1998) (on the website -www.article19.org/docimages/694.htm) and The Case of Citizen FM (1999) (on the website - www.article19.org/docimages/693.htm).




Source

ARTICLE 19: Global Campaign for Free Expression
6-8 Amwell Street
London
EC1R 1UQ
United Kingdom
info (@) article19.org
Fax:+44 20 7278 7660
The Gambia

IFEX members working in this country 1

 
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