Since August 2014, the GPU has been battling with the state at the Supreme Court over the constitutionality of the laws of sedition and false publication. The case, instituted by the GPU, with support from Media Legal Defence Initiative, is seeking prayers from the apex court to cross out sections 52, 59 and 181 from the Criminal Code.
Our grounds are that these provisions not only unduly restrict free speech, they also contravene the constitutional provisions that guarantee free speech. The GPU has hands in the ongoing case against the state, filed before the Ecowas Court of Justice by the Federation of African Journalists for the repeal of sedition, criminal defamation and publication of false news.
· Legal defence
The GPU has a tradition of offering cover to journalists in conflict with the law. We support mainly in terms of legal fees, but also in exceptional circumstances, medical and transport expenses. Over the past five years, together with our partners, such as IFJ, MLDI, Frontline Defenders, and Article 19, we have spent MORE THAN ONE MILLION DALASIS only legal fees. The beneficiaries include Alagie Ceesay of Teranga FM, Nanama Keita, then of Observer; Saikou Ceesay, then of Daily News; Dodou Sanneh then of GRTS; Baboucarr Ceesay, freelance Abubakar Saidykhan, freelance, Musa Sheriff, editor & publisher of The Voice, and Sainey Marenah, freelance.
L-R, At the Supreme Court of the Gambia, GPU lawyers Hawa Sisay Sabally and Sagar Jahateh pose for a photo with Nani Jensen, director of Media Legal Legal Defence Initiative.