Three journalists, Landing Ceesay of Paradise FM, Sally Jobe of Kerr Fatou and Ebrahim Jambang of Gambia Talent were allegedly assaulted by supporters accompanying President Adama Barrow in his nation-wide tour on Thursday.
The alleged incident was said to have occurred at Janjanbureh-Lamin-Koto ferry crossing point, in the Central River Region.
“We are among the journalists covering the president’s meet-the-people-tour. I was standing and I saw the Gambia Talent’s cameraman filming some youths who were protesting for President to consider them and allocate to them a vehicle that can carry them.”
“All of a sudden, I observed that he was surrounded by a group and I had to rush and told them that we are journalists doing our job. So they came towards me, one of them hit me on my chest two times. I sustained internal pain and I could not attend the next meeting,” Landing Ceesay told The Chronicle.
He also explained that while one of Barrow’s team members was hauling parental insults on them and labeling them [journalists] as the inciters of instability, his colleague Sally Jobe took a mobile phone and started taking a video of the man. He said Sally was approached and the phone was smashed up and the screen was broken.
The Gambia Press Union (GPU) confirmed the incident, describing it ‘disturbing news.’
“When we first got the news, I reached out to the Director of the Press and Public Relations at the Office of the President, and the Spokesperson of the government to express our concerns to them. They both expressed regret over the incident and also apologize on behalf of the presidency,” he said in a statement.
Meanwhile, he says the Union is disturbed and worried about the safety of its colleagues on the ground.
“We will continue to engage the presidency on the safety of journalists and make sure that the safety and security of journalists on the ground are guaranteed,” GPU president, Sheriff Bojang Jr. stated. The GPU calls on the authorities to swiftly act to investigate the matter.”
This has increased the trend of physical and verbal attacks on journalists under the current government since 2017.