14 August 2000


AMARC condemns attack on Radio One

Incident details

George Christensen

radio station(s)

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(AMARC/IFEX) - AMARC has condemned the brutal attack on George Christensen and Radio One FM in Banjul. According to his family, Christensen, the owner and proprietor of Radio One, escaped with substantial burns to his face and body when his radio station was attacked on the morning of Thursday 10 August 2000 by unidentified thugs.

Between 3:00 and 3:30am (local time) close to ten unidentified men armed with teargas and petrol (gasoline) surrounded the studios of Radio One on Kairaba Avenue in an attempt to burn the station down. The watch man raised an alarm and wrestled the thugs. The lights were smashed and teargas was used to blind the eyes of the occupants, after which the station was set on fire. The latest reports indicate that the rest of the staff on duty, including the DJ, escaped unharmed. Christensen was transported to a medical facility to receive treatment for burns he suffered while trying to put out the fire. The station stopped broadcasting for about twenty-four hours and only resumed when Christensen was discharged from hospital the next day.

Created in 1990, Radio One is regularly on the front lines in the fight against government and army abuses against civil society. Radio One recently raised its voice to denounce the killing of fourteen young children who were protesting against the killing of a thirteen year-old boy and the alleged rape of a thirteen year-old girl by fire brigade officers. As a result of the tense atmosphere, Radio One and Christensen have received many threats over the past weeks. This culminated in the attack on Thursday morning.

Christensen has been a member of AMARC Africa's Board of Directors since 1997. He has been an active member involved in various development projects in Africa and human rights battles in Africa and other regions of the world. He is active in many international fora that address the issue of freedom of expression in difficult political contexts.

AMARC considers the attack on Radio One a serious threat to the right to communicate, which is an extension of the right to freedom of expression under which all journalists are protected. AMARC supports the right to communicate as a necessary element of effective democracies which must be protected. AMARC has asked that this crime be denounced so that the perpetrators receive just punishment.

Recommended Action

Send messages of support and solidarity for Radio One to:

Radio One

Kairaba Avenue

Banjul, The Gambia

Tel: +220 39 49 00

Fax: +220 39 60 71

E-mail: george.radio1@qanet.gm

Please copy messages to the source if possible.


World Association of Community Radio Broadcasters
705, rue Bourget, bureau 100
Montreal, Quebec H4C 2M6
secgen (@) si.amarc.org
Fax:+1 514 849 7129
The Gambia

IFEX members working in this country 1

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