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» 11.11.2010 - Gambia coup "only matter of time"
» 27.09.2010 - Gambia Dictator "lied about Obama award"
» 15.07.2010 - Gambian "coup plotters" sentenced to death
» 04.03.2010 - $8 million support for agric production
» 04.03.2010 - Six security officials sacked
» 16.02.2010 - Gambia expels UNICEF envoy
» 07.01.2010 - Kenya deports controversial Muslim cleric
» 19.11.2009 - Gambian president withdraws from Commonwealth meeting

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Gambia suspends RFI

afrol News, 22 January - Following its airing of what has been referred to as an "erroneous news story," Gambian authorities have suspended 'Radio France Internationale' (RFI) from broadcasting in the country.

The government kept mute over the reasons for the closure until three days later [21 January] when the Ministry of Communications, Information and Technology issued a releasing, announcing and defending the suspension. The government said the move was in tandem with the "professional ethics of the media" in The Gambia.

The Paris-based radio that broadcast in The Gambia through the government-controlled state radio [Gambia Radio and Television] was taken off air after it had reported that some Mauritanian terrorists accused of killing French tourists had fled to Guinea-Bissau through The Gambia.

The Gambia's latest media bashing has again attracted the attention of the international media watchdogs to the country, with the Accra-based Media Foundation for West Africa condemning the move, describing it as "a clear manifestation of President Yahya Jammeh's government's intolerance of critical media."

Over the years, state-sponsored attacks on Gambian media took different forms: arson, arbitrary arrest and detention, kidnapping, illegal closure of media organisations, among others.

In March 2006, the police arrested the staff of 'The Independent', The Gambia's leading bi-weekly private newspaper and sealed its premises without a court order.

The government had earlier revoked the licence of Sud FM, accusing it of "jeopardizing relations between The Gambia and its neighbours," particularly Senegal.

The radio's only crime was to broadcast the details of a sticky meeting between The Gambia and Senegal in 2005 after the two countries deadlocked over the increase in ferry tariff in 2005.

'Citizen FM' was the first radio to be closed by the Jammeh regime in February 1998. The radio's late proprietor, Baboucarr Gaye, was prosecuted and fined US $30 for violating the 1913 act of telegraphic law by operating a radio without a valid licence.

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