The Gambia: 'Disappeared' journalist receives special recognition at Amnesty International Media Awards

The Gambian journalist Ebrima B. Manneh, who has not been seen since his arrest in July 2006, received special recognition at the Amnesty International Media Awards ceremony in London tonight [2 June] in the Special Award For Journalism Under Threat category.

The Special Award has been part of Amnesty International UK’s Media Awards for more than ten years since 1998. It pays tribute to the courage of journalists around the world who pursue their journalistic work at personal risk. At this year’s prestigious ceremony, Ebrima was one of three journalists from around the world who was highlighted in this category.

Amnesty International UK Director Kate Allen said:

“The Special Award is always a highlight of Amnesty’s Media Awards ceremony, as it throws a spotlight on the extraordinary bravery and achievement of journalists around the world.

“I am pleased that Ebrima Manneh was recognised in this category. His arrest and detention is both unjust and a flagrant breach of human rights.”

Ebrima Manneh was arrested in July 2006 by plainclothes police officers. Since his arrest the government and police officials have denied that he is in custody. It is believed that Ebrima Manneh was arrested for attempting to publish an article that criticised the Gambian government.

Kate Allen continued:

“It would appear that Ebrima Manneh was arrested because he tried to publish an article which criticised the government.

“Publishing this kind of story happens without question or challenge every day in newsrooms up and down the UK, and around the world. Freedom of expression of this kind is a basic human right to which everyone is entitled. No one should be imprisoned for that.”

Amnesty International is campaigning for Ebrima Manneh’s immediate and unconditional release. It is also supporting recent calls by the Gambian Press Union for an urgent, thorough and impartial investigation of the case by the National Assembly.

The human rights’ organisation’s Media Awards ceremony is attended by some of the UK’s best-known editors, reporters and presenters from across the media.

Previous recipients of Amnesty’s Special Award have included Honduran online magazine editor Dina Meza, Russian journalist Anna Politkovskaya, and the Guatemalan broadcaster and columnist Marielos Monzón.

Other contested awards at Amnesty International’s Media Awards ceremony are: Photojournalism, Television News, Radio, New Media, National Newspapers, International Television and Radio, Nations and Regions, Periodicals, Television Documentary and Docudrama, and a Gaby Rado Memorial award to an emerging human rights journalist.

ENDS

Notes to the Editor

1. Photographs are available on request
2. More information and details of the photo action taken by Amnesty International supporters around the world is available at www.amnesty.org.uk/manneh
3. For more information on the Special Award category, visit www.amnesty.org.uk/specialaward

Amnesty International UK media unit
Eulette Ewart, 020 7033 1552, eulette.ewart@amnesty.org.uk
Out of office hours: 07721 398 984

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