Not so free on Freedom Day

Today isFreedom Day in Gambia,but for many Gambians, the irony of this public holiday leaves a bitter taste.

PresidentJammeh established this national holiday soon after he was elected president in1996. Since then sadly, little has been done to encourage freedom in thecountry, in fact theres been a sharp decline in free speech.

Mediarepression across Gambiahas been fierce in recent years. Any journalist who dares to speak out againstthe government or criticse the President or his actions is at risk of beingarrested, facing an unfair trial or being taken off the streets never to beseen again.

This iscertainly the case for Ebrima Manneh a Gambian journalist who was arrested inJuly 2006. Since then, hes never been brought to trial and his family andfriends have no idea where he is.

Andcurrently at the moment seven journalists are on trial for daring to exercisetheir right to free speech.

Yesterdayabout 50 Amnesty, NUJ and TUC supporters took to the streets outside theGambian High Commission in London to call forfree speech in Gambia,and for the government to release details of Ebrima Mannehs whereaboutsimmediately. You can listen to the BBC's report on this here.

A HighCommission representative agreed to urge the Gambian Government to investigatethe case. Well continue to press this until it happens. Meanwhile for moreinformation on Ebrimas case and to take action, visit www.whereisebrima.org

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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