By Patience Loum, Banjul, The Gambia – Friday, January 31, 2020.
Two private radio stations in The Gambia have been shut down, January 24, 2020 sources have said. The Gambia Police Force shut down the radio stations, sources confirmed to National Telegraph.
King FM, in Serrekunda, a large town located at the Atlantic coast, 13 km (8 mi) South-west of the capital, Banjul, and Home FM, in Brikama, a large city, South of the capital have been named as the stations affected by the action.
This action was followed by the demonstrations of the ‘Operations Three Years Jotna Movement, during which a march turned violent where many were reported injured, killed, detained, and a turnover of massive burnt down of properties.
According to sources, the Manager of Brikama-based Digital FM, Pa Modou Bojang and the Manager of King FM Gibbi Jallow, alongside four of his employees were asked to stop operations with immediate effect and taken to the Brusubi Police station. Details on their arrests are still unclear.
Alhajie Secka, owner of King FM said, “They have decided to use force to illegally close my radio station. There is no justification for their move. I have contacted the Inspector General of Police, Mamout Jobe to express my concern on the current state of affairs.”
He continued that “I told him that it was wrong for his men to close my station. That, their action would cause economic hardship to workers employed at that station. I opened this radio to help my people. Gambians have rights to speak up against the government. No one has the right to muzzle dissent and free speech.”
He also cited police brutality as a reality in The Gambia. He explained that he’s a victim of police brutality. “I was falsely arrested during one of my visits to The Gambia. The police said it was wrong for my neighbours to beat a thief, who broke into my bedroom. My money and properties were stolen, and yet they decided to arrest me.”
The move has caused serious outrage and many think it may spark more protests in the future. Alhajie Secka also said he pays texas and has workers and considers the move as of no good to the investment in the West African country.
“I pay taxes to the state. There are seventeen people working at that station. I am contributing my quota to national development. Instead of encouraging us to invest in this country, they are resorting to kill private investments. If my station is closed, it wouldn’t reduce anything from me. I am doing well. It is going to affect Gambians,” he concluded.