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Gambia radio station told to silence DJs, play music only

04 January 2017, 16:41

Banjul - A Gambian radio station briefly told to stop broadcasting by the security services was allowed back on air on Tuesday, but told its DJs had to stay silent and should broadcast music only.

Afri radio was one of three stations shut down by the feared National Intelligence Agency (NIA) on Sunday night, as the tiny west African country awaits the final outcome of a disputed election held in December.

"We were on Monday evening ordered to resume transmission, but on condition that we will only play music," said a staff member at Afri radio who asked not to be named.

"We were asked to stop all programmes and that no DJ or presenter should be in the studio. No staff (are) allowed to speak in the studio," the staff member added.

The two other stations affected remained off air by Tuesday afternoon.

Although the NIA operatives offered no reason for the closure, the Afri radio source said one anchor had announced on air that President-elect Adama Barrow would be inaugurated on January 19.

The NIA reports directly to President Yahya Jammeh, who has ruled The Gambia with an iron fist for the last 22 years and has declared the result of the election in which opponent Barrow was declared the winner to be void.

Jammeh is currently challenging the election result in court, with the case due to be heard on January 10.

The 2016 Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index ranked The Gambia 145th out of 180 countries, pointing to "a climate of terror around anything remotely to do with journalism".

- AFP

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