Human Rights, Legal, Politics

Government Exempts Journalists from Curfew Orders

Spokesperson Ebrima Sanyang
GPU Prexy Sheriff Bojang
IGP Mamour Jobe

By: Mustapha Ceesay, Freelance reporter
Journalists in the Gambia have been exempted from the 21-day night curfew imposed by the Gambia Government which commenced on the night of 6th August 2020, thanks to the efforts of the Gambia Press Union (GPU).
The umbrella body of media practitioners in the country has bargained on behalf of its membership, to be exempted from the 10pm to 5am curfew, so as to be able to do their media work. The request was accepted by the government, according to the Press Union, which argues that the development is in line with standards of best practice.
“Media exemptions from curfew orders are in line with standards of best practice. This is in view of the peculiar nature of the work of media workers who are required to stay up late to provide information, education and entertainment services to the public,” GPU stated in its statement.
The GPU acknowledged that the media serves as the eyes and ears of the public with respect to the enforcement of the curfew orders.
The umbrella body, however, advised media practitioners to carry a valid press card either issued by the GPU or from a bonafide news and information media outlet. It also encouraged media houses to put up stickers on their vehicles for identification purposes.
The Union, as per the statement, also urged journalists to wear face masks, any other safety kit, press jackets, and also follow all the health regulations by the government and the WHO for their own safety and those of others, at all times.
The exemption, the union disclosed, was approved by the Government spokesperson [Ebrima G. Sankareh], in consultation with the Director of Health Services and Inspector General of Police (IGP) [Mamour Jobe].
Therefore, it called on the security operatives to cooperate with the exemption of the media from the curfew orders.
It could be noted that, the President of the Republic, Mr. Adama Barrow had announced a new 21-day State of Public Emergency (SoPE) and a curfew. The State of Public Emergency commenced midnight, 5th August 2020.
The declaration of this new State of Public Emergency and a curfew by the President is part of measures put in place by the government, in order to break the chain of community transmissions as well as curb the spread of the virus amid the exponential rise in cases of the Coronavirus in the country.
In The Gambia, as of 6th August, 2020, the number of confirmed cases stand at 935 with 16 deaths, and 777 active cases. Experts said the surges are relatively high for a country of two million people.

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