By Sarata Jabbi
The Gambia Press Union (GPU) and International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) have denounced the attack on journalist Pa Modou Bojang at Faraba Banta and called for an immediate investigation.
Bojang, Mengbekering anchor, was on Monday arrested and beaten by some members of the Police Intervention Unit whilst covering the clash between the protesters and security forces.
In a video interview with Fatu Network, Bojang said he was arrested and put in a car where he was seated for three hours in handcuffs and was told by the security men that his brother, Operation Commander Landing Bojang, was the one who had ordered his arrest, adding that the same men were insulting him and the said Landing Bojang at the same time. “This made me believe that the security men that beat me are former president’s supporters, because I have been labeled as pro president Barrow, and whilst beating me they said I am one of the journalists who are destroying The Gambia,” he explained.
Reacting to Pa Modou’s arrest the GPU Secretary General, Saikou Jammeh, said the attacks are a step backwards for press freedom in The Gambia, noting that the union will take all measures appropriate and necessary to ensure that the perpetrators of this attack face justice and the journalist is rewarded for damages. “Pa Modou was slapped on the face and repeatedly beaten by the PIU officials while being insulted because of his professional status. He sustained injuries to his head and jaw. He was arrested by the PIU and detained for six hours at the Brikama Police Station and later released without charge. However, he did not recover his audio recorder from the police,” GPU statement stated.
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), has called upon the government of The Gambia to guarantee the safety and security of journalists and the entire citizenry and to create a conducive environment where journalists and all citizens can work without fear. “The Gambia Government must understand that an attack on journalists and the media is a direct assault on democracy.”