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State House Drops Plan to Subject Journalists to SIS Screening

The office of the Director of Press and Public Relations at State House has abandoned a plan to have journalists screened by agents of the Security Intelligence Services (SIS).

The move followed condemnation by the Gambia Press Union and its international affiliates including the International Federation of Journalists, who jointly referred to the plan as an effort to stifle the press. Under the plan, every journalist who applied for accreditation to cover the presidency would appear before SIS (Formerly the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) for screening.

But a meeting with GPU executive members at Stat House Monday, Amie Bojang Sissoho, the Director of Press and Public Relations announced that her office decided to drop the plan after consultation with stakeholders. She also assured that GPU that the screening process, which was scheduled to start Monday morning, “was developed with goodwill and its only objective was to get to know the people covering the presidency because it is a sensitive office.”

Reacting to the new development, the GPU President Sheriff Bojang Jr. said “it’s in the interest of both parties that the plan to screen journalists in this manner is abandoned,” adding that “subjecting us to appear before a panel of NIA/SIS agents would have been a very bad idea.”

Journalists who applied for accreditation will now be accredited without going through any form of SIS screening.

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