“I have no authority under law to either declare or impose a curfew in any part of The Gambia. I did not declare or authorize the imposition of a curfew in any part of The Gambia. The Gambia Government has not imposed or declared a curfew in any part of The Gambia. If conditions existed that will trigger such declaration or imposition in any part of the country, textual procedures must be followed. As of now, no such conditions have been determined to have existed,” Gambia’s Interior Minister Mai Fatty wrote on his Facebook, while debunking a Foroyaa Newspaper publication that his Ministry recently declared a curfew in Kanilai, without following relevant provisions of the constitution to justify the curfew.

Mr. Fatty’s statement attracted a heated reaction on social media. Journalist Alagi Yorro Jallow believes that Mr. Fatty ought to have channel his rejoinder to the Foroyaa Newspaper than using social media to dispute the story.

“Mai Ahmed Fatty is your right to ask for a retraction or an apology from Foroyaa newspaper if you think their editorial is not correct against you or the government instead of using the Facebook to refute their editorial. When information is inaccurate, unfair, or just ‘made up’, real people are affected and they should have a right to correct misleading statements. The “right of reply” has been a fundamental element in the freedom of expression context for a long time. Such a right would mean that if inaccurate information is published about someone in the media then, in certain conditions, that person has the right to have an answer published in the same medium where the original statements were published. This is seen by experts in law and in the media as way of improving public access to information and of ensuring the plurality of opinions published in the press.”

But Mai was still adamant on his position that the Foroyaa Newspaper has failed to follow the principles of ethical, fair and balanced reporting.

“Mr. Jallow, ethical journalists will always reach out to the other side for fair and balanced reporting. No verification was made through the Ministry of Interior, its satellite institutions or the Minister. The public will make up its mind on this type of biased scenario. I make no assumptions,” Mr. Fatty told Alagi Yorro Jallow.

Mr. Jallow counter remarked: “Mr. Fatty it’s your right to demand retraction or an apology from Foroyaa if the information published is untrue and you have the right to inform the public what is true. Anyone injured by inaccurate or offensive statements or ideas disseminated to the public in general by a legally regulated medium of communication has the right to reply or to make a correction using the same communications outlet, under such conditions as the law may establish.”

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