The umbrella body of Gambian journalists – Gambia Press Union – is demanding the reopening of two privately-owned radio stations after the release of detained journalists.

Police arrested and detained four journalists, and put two local FM stations off air after Sunday’s violent anti-government protest.

On Tuesday a group of Journalists led by Gambia Press Union marched in solidarity to demand the release of the detained journalists.

In a statement, GPU welcomes the release of the four journalists arrested and detained by the police, but demanded that the state lift its ban on the airwaves.

Meanwhile, the two radio stations – King FM and Home Digital FM – remain shutdown. Armed personnel of the Police Intervention Unit (PIU) from the Gambia Police Force (GPF) are stationed at the premises of the radio stations, restricting access by staff.

Pa Modou Bojang, proprietor of Home Digital FM

The GPU President, Sheriff Bojang Jr. said: “The continuous closure of the two radio stations is an attack on press freedom and a blatant disregard for the rule of law by the government.

The GPU therefore calls on the Inspector General of the Police (IGP) to immediately withdraw his men from the illegal occupation of the media outlets. We also renew our call for the government to lift the unlawful ban on the radio stations.

“To the Gambia media, we appreciate your sense of solidarity and urge you to remain steadfast in the exercise of your constitutional duty to inform the public and to hold the government accountable to the public.”

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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