Freedom of the Press

Gambia, The

Gambia, The

Freedom of the Press 2003

2003 Scores

Press Status

Partly Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)

65

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

27

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

18

The government significantly restricts free expression even though this right is provided for in the constitution. Several decrees require all private media to pay large licensing fees in order to operate. International press freedom organizations protested the passing of a restrictive media bill by the National Assembly. The National Media Commission Bill, which President Yahya Jammeh had not yet signed into law by the end of 2002, would give government authorities the power to license journalists, to deny the right to confidentiality of sources, to formulate a journalistic code of ethics, and to punish the media for noncompliance. Despite some self-censorship and a lack of access to official information, the independent media continue to criticize government policies as well as the ruling party. However, the state-run broadcast media present tightly controlled news and give limited coverage to opposition viewpoints. Journalists and media outlets are subject to intimidation and harassment at the hands of police and other authorities. During the year, at least two reporters were detained, held without charge, and questioned by the secret service.