Five days ago was the fifth anniversary of journalist Deyda Hydara murder. He was the editor of newspaper "The Point" and he was killed while was driving his car. Deyda had been for more than 30 years a correspondent for news agency France-Presse and for Reporters Without Borders. Strongly critical of President Yahya Jammeh government (hostile toward Gambia reporters), the journalist defended press freedom with his life.
The murderer of Hydara has not yet been found. Reporters Without Borders
has condemned the obstruction of the government of President Yahya
Jammeh and the failure of the international community in being able to
find a culprit. “We express our solidarity with Hydara’s family and colleagues and with
the Gambian press, which has been subjected to fear, silence and
injustice since December 2004,” RWB wrote on the day of the anniversary.
There is almost total censorship today in the African country and the difficulty of finding the responsible for this murder confirms this. But President Jammeh, in an interview to the state television last June, has denied any charge that concerns him. He suggested that those responsible should be find by investigating in the journalist sexual life. A comment "inappropriate" and "provocative" was later described by other journalists, sentenced to two years in prison and forced to spend a month in jail on charges of defamation.
Hydara was killed when he was 58 years old and was famous
for his investigations on corruption in high places and because of his editorials in which he did not hesitate to attack President Jammeh, who
came to power in 1994 through a coup.
Since then, being a journalist in this country has become increasingly difficult: in 2004 were increased five-fold the fees to open a newspaper and have been tightened the sanctions against journalists for defamation, now up to 3 years in jail.
President Jammeh, in those years, has threatened to bury journalists "six-feet deep" and when asked about journalists critising his attempts to force them to register, he told that journalists had to either register or stop writing or go to hell.
Hydara had strongly condemned those words as totally "repugnant".
In the website devoted to Hydara is written he was obsessed with press freedom, good governance and economic development.
"I am a journalist and I will continue to inform people at all costs, even dying," he said. In his last article he had announced his intention to appeal against the press laws passed a few days earlier. Since then, no real investigation was made. Because worry about the murder of a journalist is not important. In Gambia, and also in much of the world, power wants to eliminate any discordant voice. At the beginning of 2010, governments continue to be fearful of free press, because journalism, well done, can be really dangerous for a politician.
|< Prev||Next >|