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The Gambia: Working Towards Media Law Reforms

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The Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure Monday, May 30 announced the joint signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to support the reform of laws and policies that will advance the freedom of expression, access to information, citizen participation and accountability in the Republic of The Gambia.

The MOU signed between the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure, the Ministry of Justice and Article 19 gives the international freedom of expression organization the role of supporting the reform process through the raising resources to sponsor new legislations, strengthen capacity building and stakeholders consultations and where possible, to support both ministries to strengthen their internal capacity.

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In a statement the MOICI said:”As we enter into a new era of democracy, it is imperative to build a culture of transparency, accountability and respect for the rights and freedoms of journalists and media outlets to facilitate the free flow of information and ideas necessary to guarantee their civil liberties which is crucial to the execution of their mandate.”

Citing the “the severe infringement on the right of freedom of expression over the past 22 years”, the Criminal Code Amendment Act No. 18/2004, the Newspapers Amendment Act No. 17/2004 and their intended results of media repression and a stifling of civil liberties including freedom of expression the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure says the “aim of the MOU is to support law and policy reforms by revising current laws that limit freedom of expression and independence of the media and ensure that the relevant legislation is in line with the international freedom of expression standards.”

Photo 1: Demba A. Jawo, Minister of Information and Communications Infrastructure

Photo 2: Fatou Jagne Senghore, Regional Director, Article 19