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Last Updated: Wednesday, 22 December, 2004, 13:45 GMT
Gambian media in murder protest
Deyda Hydara
Deyda Hydara edited the Point newspaper and worked for AFP news agency
Some 300 journalists in Gambia in West Africa have held a demonstration in protest at the murder of a veteran journalist who was shot dead last week.

They marched through the centre of Banjul to deliver complaints to the police and Interior Ministry. Many of the protesters wore T-shirts bearing the words, "Who Killed Deyda?"

A one-week media strike began on Tuesday in honour of editor, Deyda Hydara, who had been a fierce opponent of new laws restricting press freedom.

The Gambian authorities have condemned Mr Hydara's killing. Interior Minister Amadou Janneh has said that he saw no link between the murder and the new press laws.

Journalists in Senegal and Mali are also staging demonstrations in support of their Gambian colleagues.

Legislation

Mr Hydara had written articles that severely attacked repressive new legislation against the press.

President Yahya Jammeh
Mr Jammeh's government said the new law was needed to make journalists more responsible
The BBC's West Africa correspondent Andrew Simmons says the new laws can impose minimum six month jail sentences for journalists who write libellous articles and in order to stay in business, media proprietors have to prove they can afford to pay new hefty financial penalties if they publish such material.

Demba Jawo, president of Gambia's press union, said independent journalists were living in fear of their lives after a series of arson attacks and the murder of Mr Hydara.

He is calling for an independent inquiry into the killing because he said journalists believe it was politically motivated.

All of Gambia's four independent newspapers and its weekly magazine have stopped publication for one week and the popular independent broadcaster Radio 1FM has suspended its transmission.

The journalists say their march is aimed at drawing outside attention to their cause and it is intended to be subdued and peaceful.




SEE ALSO:
Gambia imposes 'foreigner tax'
25 Feb 03 |  Africa
Gambia poll landslide
18 Jan 02 |  Africa
Timeline: Gambia
22 Feb 02 |  Africa
Country profile: Gambia
29 Jun 02 |  Country profiles


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