By Modou S. Joof / YJAG Member
The Daily News reporter
Momodou S. Jallow is due to make his 2nd appearance in court on Monday
February 6, 2012, following allegations of criminal defamation against a
local chief, Mamadou Lamin Baldeh, in an article captioned:
"Presidential Hajj Package Scandal Chief Baldeh Allegedly Bribes Lover”.
was arraigned on January 24, 2012 before a provincial magistrate in
the town of Bansang. "His case however, did not proceed as the court was
busy with other matters," an unnamed source told the Daily News.
The charges, brought by the police againstthe journalist followed
allegations by a rice farmer, Boto Fatajo, that the Chief gave out
his(Fatojo) President Jammeh sponsored-Hajj ticket to a lover. The
Gambian leader, Yahya Jammeh gives out tickets to Muslims yearly to
embark on the annualpilgrimage (Hajj) to Mecca in Saudi Arabia.
Message from abroad
Accra-based press and free expression watchdog, the Media Foundation
for West Africa, MFWA said the journalist did his work diligently by
carrying the other side of the story. It raises concerns over the
authorities handling of the matter.
the time the woman was making the allegation, the chief was not there.
So [Jallow] acted responsibly and contacted the chief”, the Vianna-based
International Press Institute (IPI) quoted Mr. Saikou Jammeh, the
newspaper's editor to have said. “This is fair and balanced. The
charges are out of place.”
journalist should ever face criminal charges as a result of his or her
work,” said IPI Press Freedom Manager Anthony Mills. “We call for
charges against Momodou S. Jallow to be dropped immediately.”
the United States-based Committee to Protect Journalists reduced the
police handling of affairs to "harassment of the journalist".
police must immediately stop harassing Momodou Jallow for giving voice
to farmers’ grievances. Repeatedly summoning a journalist to court and
threatening him with charges is intimidation designed to silence
criticism,” CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita said.
in Gambia are harassing a journalist for reporting farmers’ complaints
against a local official accused of mismanaging public resources," the
CPJ said on January 10, citing local journalists and news reports. "
Jallow’s story in the Daily News, a rice farmer accused Chief Baldeh of
misallocating a ticket sponsored by President Yahya Jammeh to travel to
the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca, known as the hajj. The article
also cited farmers raising questions about Baldeh’s management of the
finances of a local cooperative".