INDEPENDENT NEWSPAPER EDITORIAL OF JUNE 23, 2000-Ridiculous harassment

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This was an editorial published after the nationality of Th Independent editors were questioned

Ridiculous harassment

23 June 2000

Once again, we are under attack from all quarters of the APRC government. We are being accused of all manner of misdeeds and subjected to all manner of ridiculous harassment and intimidation.

Over the past few days, two secretaries of state have vented their spleen on The Independent. They have spoken of us in very angry and uncomplimentary terms, accused us of always opposing the government and implied that we are irresponsible people bent on a deliberate policy of provocation and irresponsible journalism.

Even more ridiculous was a surprise visit to our offices by Immigration officers on Tuesday morning to see whether the Editor-in- Chief and Managing Editor are citizens of The Gambia. A bizarre development indeed that would jolt any right-thinking persons out of their senses.

Certainly, this is the latest in a pattern of deliberate harassment of The Independent newspaper. Ever since we started publishing in July 1999, the APRC government has been harassing and intimidating us. Less than a month after we started publishing, we were illegally stopped from publishing for three weeks. In December 1999, our editors and reporter were picked up, detained and charged with libel. Not surprisingly, the charges were later dropped. And now comes this most ridiculous harassment: covert plans to deport our editors, coming at a time when certain secretaries of states are fuming with rage at us.

We wish to remind the Gambia Government that they can harass and intimidate us, but they can never succeed in frightening us. For while we are well aware of how powerful they are and all the things they could do to us, we know that their power is nothing beside the power of the Almighty God. If they therefore feel that they can harass us for no good reasons, so be it. We seek refuge under the feet of God.

Moreover, we wish to indicate to those secretaries of state who rage and fume at us, that we reserve the right to our opinions, our views and our political orientations. We are not going to sing anybody’s praises, nor shrink from publishing any stories for fear of offending anybody. We are going to stick to what we believe is the truth and nothing but the truth. If we commit a crime, let the due process of law take its course.

Other than that, we defy anybody to try controlling our opinions and our views. If they feel they can bully us at will, we are willing victims. We are powerless journalists, but they should rest assured that we are not going to take anything lying down. We trust in the Supreme power of the Lord, our God. So, help us God.

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