Annual Report 2013
The state of the world's human rights

5 July 2013

The Gambia: New bill stifles online dissent

The Gambia: New bill stifles online dissent
In The Gambia people who criticise government officials online could be sent to prison or fined.

In The Gambia people who criticise government officials online could be sent to prison or fined.

© ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP/Getty Images


By attempting to repress dissent even on the internet, the new bill takes the restriction of freedom of expression in the Gambia to a shocking new level.
Source: 
Lucy Freeman, Africa Deputy Ditrector at Amnesty International.

A new bill in the Gambia which could impose lengthy prison sentences and hefty fines for criticising government officials on the internet is an outrageous attack on freedom of expression, Amnesty International said.

“By attempting to repress dissent even on the internet, the new bill takes the restriction of freedom of expression in the Gambia to a shocking new level.” said Lucy Freeman, Africa Deputy Ditrector at Amnesty International.

The Information and Communication (Amendment) Act 2013, means that a simple cartoon or satirical comedy could carry up to 15 years in jail and a fine of up to of three million Dalasis (approx £54,500).

While the bill imposes penalties for “Instigating violence against the government or public officials”, it also targets individuals who “caricature or make derogatory statements against officials” or “impersonate public officials”.

“The authorities in the Gambia have done everything in their power to stop people from openly criticising them, including shutting down radio stations and newspapers, expelling foreign journalists and imprisoning activists. Now they have come for the internet.”

Issue

Freedom Of Expression 

Country

Gambia 

Region

Africa 

@amnestyonline on twitter

News

16 October 2014

Repressive and discriminatory legislation enacted over the last 18 months in Uganda has led to increasing state repression, violence and homophobic and gender-based... Read more »

17 October 2014

Prisoner of conscience and torture victim Ángel Amílcar Colón Quevedo has been released from prison after five years in pre-trial detention, in a move that is welcome but... Read more »

20 October 2014

A politically motivated ban imposed on a Pakistani TV channel critical of the government constitutes a violation of the right to freedom of expression, said Amnesty... Read more »

20 October 2014

An Amnesty International investigation into allegations of execution-style and other deliberate killings by pro-Russian separatists and pro-Kyiv forces has found evidence... Read more »

17 October 2014

Testimonies gathered by Amnesty International indicate that Egyptian security forces used excessive force to crack down on recent student demonstrations at Alexandria... Read more »