The Gambia: Director-General of State Broadcaster Dismissed and Detained without Charge

The Managing Director General of the state-owned Gambia Radio and Television Service (GRTS), Momodou Sabally has been dismissed and arrested.

According to MFWA’s sources no reason has been given for Sabally’s dismissal on November 8, 2016 which was followed later the same day by his arrest and detention by the feared National Intelligence Agency (NIA).

Sabally who is a former Presidential Affairs Minister  was appointed Director General  of the GRTS on February 15, 2016  to succeed then Director of the state-broadcaster, Lamin Manga. Manga who was then made his deputy. Meanwhile Mr Manga who was replaced by Sabally and made a deputy to the latter, has been reappointed.

This is not the first time that Sabally has been sacked and detained. In 2015, he was sacked from his Presidential Affairs Ministerial post and also detained.

Political observers say the rampant hiring and firing is a ploy by government to create a climate of job insecurity at the top hierarchy of the state broadcaster, thereby forcing the leadership to tow the line of the ruling party.

Arbitrary actions such as this one have the potential to intimidate media professionals, and are particularly regrettable happening so close to next month’s elections in The Gambia. The MFWA calls on the authorities in The Gambia to release Sabally give reasons for the dismissal and arrest of Sabally or formally charge him with a recognised offense under the laws of the country. We also urge the government to release him pending formal proceedings against him.

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