By Sankulleh Gibril Janko

The President of the Gambia Press Union has paid tribute to Gambian journalists who died while fighting for press freedom in The Gambia.

“On behalf of the Gambia Press Union and the Gambia media fraternity, we’d like to pay homage to our lost colleagues Deyda Hydara, Chief Ebrima Manneh and many others who sacrificed their lives, those of their families and defied all odds risked their lives and clear the way for us to live in this situation today,” Sheriff Bojang Jnr told this reporter in an exclusive interview in respect of International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists.

The Gambia today November 2 joins the rest of the world to mark this UN-recognised day which seeks to draw attention to the low global conviction rate for violent crimes against journalists and media workers.

Mr Bojang said the days of crimes against journalists are gone and will not be tolerated anymore.

“What we can assure the people is that gone are those days when journalists will be assaulted, will be brutalized, will be harassed and intimidated, we sit by and do nothing,” he said.

“Now when it happens is touch one touch all we will move, we would do whatever we can do within the confines of the law to make sure that people who commit such crimes are punished.”

He expressed his utmost respect and prayed for the departed colleagues saying they could have been with their families today but chose to stand by what they believed in and the ethics of journalism despite the torture and intimidations.

Although he welcomed the significant improvement in freedom of expression especially in the media, the GPU boss said gone are the days of impunity and crime against journalists in the country.

In recent survey done by Afrobarometer a Pan African non-partisan research network that conducts public attitude surveys on governance, democracy, economic conditions and relate issues in Africa showed that more than one in four Gambians (28%) say they or a member of their family suffered at least one form of human right abuse under the regime of former president Yaya Jammeh a trend the GPU president said must change.