Community radio Teranga FM has been allowed to resume broadcasting, one month after it was ransacked by state security agents and ordered to close without any explanation. However, it is not allowed to review stories of the independent press in local languages and english.
14-01-2011- State security agents forcibly close community radio station without explanation
State security agents yesterday ransacked Teranga FM, a community radio station located outside the capital, and ordered its closure, Reporters Without Borders has learned from various sources.
“We condemn such brutal methods and urge the government to explain this incident at once,” Reporters Without Borders said. “We also call for the station to be reopened. Independent media are rare in a country that is so hostile to press freedom. The effect of such measures is to reduce the public’s access to any other news but reports about the daily activities of the president and his government.”
“I believe the closure is linked with the press reviews of the independent press that the radio station is doing everyday in local languages, with which the authorities are not happy,” a Gambian journalist told Reporters Without Borders. “The independent press is covering the opposition’s daily activities, while state media, both the radio and the TV, only cover government activities.”
Launched in 2009, Teranga FM is based in Sinju Alajie, about 20 km west of Banjul, the capital. It is funded by donations from the local population and advertising.
Citizen Radio FM, a station that was closed during the general elections in 2002, has never reopened.
Reporters Without Borders issued a release last month, on the sixth anniversary of journalist Deyda Hydara’s still unpunished murder, condemning the press freedom situation in Gambia and urging the government to let the media breathe.
Gambia was ranked 125th out of 178 countries in the 2010 Reporters Without Borders press freedom index. A demented and violent dictator who openly threatens human rights activists and journalists, President Yahya Jammeh has for years been on the Reporters Without Borders list of “Predators of Press Freedom” .
Photo : Yahya Jammeh (AFP)