Tuesday, October 4

Victims’ Centre condemns GRTS memo as threat to human rights

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The Gambia Center for Victims of Human Rights Violations has condemned the memo issued by the Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS) as a threat to human rights.

The memo, signed by the director general of GRTS, Malick Jeng, and dated 12 September, 2022, urged all staff of the News and Current Affairs Department to stop covering all organisers of industrial action in all sectors.

The Victims’ Centre press release reads below:

“The Gambia Center for Victims of Human Rights Violations has learnt with utter disappointment on the memo issued by the state broadcaster GRTS’ Director on the12th of September, 2022 on instruction to stop coverage of industrial actions of organisations thereby suppressing their legitimate grievances.

GRTS’ memo is a threat to human rights, democracy and good governance. GRTS is a public institution that is obliged to amplify the voices of all Gambians and every citizen is entitled to be heard. Industrial action is lawful, and a democratic right guaranteed by the Constitution, the Labor Act, International Labor Organisations, Conventions and other International instruments that The Gambia has ratified. Refusal for the public or certain categories of the public from the use of state resources because of their different viewpoints is a violation of the citizen’s constitutional right and thereby, gives way to authoritarian rule and undermining democracy and freedom of expression.

The Director General’s memo is an affront to stifle dissent and divergent opinion, and therefore, violates section 208 of the 1997 Constitution which states “All state owned newspapers, journals, radio and television shall afford fair opportunities and facilities for the presentation of divergent views and dissenting opinion.”

Based on the above provision of the Constitution, the action of GRTS Director General Malick Jeng is unethical and grossly irresponsible of a State Broadcaster. We condemn this action in the strongest possible terms, and therefore call upon him to withdraw the memo. We are against any action that would violate the Human Rights of citizens in The Gambia and this statement clearly did that.”

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