The families of fallen iconic journalist heroes, Deyda Hydara and Chief Ebrima Manneh will be definitely compensated by the government of The Gambia, according to the Information and Communication minister, Demba Ali Jawo.
The minister made these revelations last week during the commemoration of World Press Freedom Day at the University of The Gambia’s Auditorium in Kanifing.
Mr. Hydara, the co-founder and managing editor of The Point Newspaper was assassinated in Dec. 16, 2004, and Chief Ebrima Manneh also a critic of the former government went missing since July 2006 and is believed to be killed.
In a statement with regard to the new government’s respect for the rule of law and the media, the minister said “a key first step for sending that right signal for justice and rule of, particularly in relation to the media is by respecting decisions of the ECOWAS Community Court on compensation for the families of the late Deyda Hydara and Chief Ebrima Manneh”
“I am happy to announce here that the Ministry of Justice has agreed on and started a payment plan with their families,” he said. “The government understands that the decisions of the court are binding and in so far as journalists are concerned, despite our weak economic position, the state will do whatever it takes to ensure the decisions on compensation are respected.”
The government’s mouth piece said the government understands that compensation is not enough and they are working to making sure bad laws that deter journalists in executing their duties be removed.
“We are aware that compensation is not enough, as life cannot be compensated,” he said. “However, a more fitting action, which we are currently working on, would be an implementation of the instructions of the Community Court to work towards repealing or amending laws on criminal libel, sedition, and false news compliance with international obligations”.
Asked to give more details on the payment plan and how much the families of two of Gambia’s journalists’ icons will be receiving from the government, the information responded, “I do not know how much they will be given but I can definitely assure you that Justice Ministry is working on it and the families will be definitely compensated.”