Four Journalists Released on Bail after Incitement Charge
The proprietor of Home Digital FM, PA Modou Bojang, manager of King FM Gibbi Jallow and his two staff, Ebrima Jallow Madiou Jallow have been released from police custody on Tuesday after being charged with a single count of Incitement of violence.
Shortly after his release, Gibbi Jallow told journalists that he was charged with a single count of incitement. He denied the charge. But he suggested that the burden lies in the police to prove the allegation.
“I am not afraid and this wouldn’t change the programming at the radio,” he emphatically stated.
Three of them were bailed with the deposition of national Identity documents for each and asked to report tomorrow. The date for court appearance is yet to be disclosed as the police continues investigation.
For Pa Modou Bojang, proprietor of Home Digital FM also faced a similar charge. He called for calmness of his fans.
“As far as media work is concerned, we will continue to do our work. This has given me more strengths, more commitment and more power to be able to do even more than what I was doing before,” he told journalists at Wellingara police station shortly after his release.
They’ve been held since Sunday following the violent protest that ensued between the riot police and the protesters. The encounter was marred by excessive tear gas and stone throw leading the scores of serious injuries with victims still being admitted at the hospital.
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued a statement on Monday asking the government to accord the arrests with due process including the journalists. NHRC also told the government to reconsider its decision of closing the two radio stations of the arrested journalists.
They were initially held incommunicado for over 34 hours with family, colleagues and lawyers denied access to them. The Gambia Press Union has threatened to embark on hunger strike on Tuesday in front of the offices of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) to demand the release of the journalists.
However, the government decided to give access immediately to their lawyers and the executive members of the GPU and promised to release them on Tuesday.
Journalists gathered in numbers at the Old Yundum police station on Tuesday morning where the King fm staff were held to witness the release of their colleagues before moving to Wellingara police station where Pa Modou Bojang was also detained.
The Secretary General of GPU, Saikou Jammeh said more than 12 journalists were assaulted since 2017 and the police failed to carry out investigations.
He said they will engage the police and politicians regarding the role of journalists.
“Now, what we will do is that anyone who assaults journalists if the police fails to investigate and prosecute the perpetrators, the Union will take such matters to court.