Unhappy UDP quits GRTS, blames IEC

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United Democratic Party has issued written a letter to the IEC accusing Election House of interpreting media laws relating to use of G.R.T.S to include stifling of a candidate’s right to review and criticize the incumbent’s policies, programmes and conduct.

UDP made the accusation in a letter to IEC boss Alieu Momar Njie on November 11.

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UDP’s letter signed by communication chief Amadou Scattred Janneh reads: “The United Democratic Party looked forward, with great anticipation, to finally and effectively use the very little airtime provided to it on the Public broadcaster, GRTS.

“This is in accordance with the Independent Electoral Commission’s Media Rules and other regulations governing the use of public media during the electoral cycle.

“The United Democratic Party, as a responsible and law abiding organisation, has always subscribed to principles of fair play and all the precepts of democratic practice.  It is our contention, therefore, that political expression protected by the Constitution of The Gambia and reflected in various legal documents, must be upheld especially during the political campaign period.

“In this context, it is perplexing to say the least, that the I.E.C would interpret media laws relating to use of G.R.T.S to include stifling of a candidate’s right to review and  criticize the incumbent’s policies, programmes and conduct.  This is both impractical and inconceivable in a democratic environment.

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“We believe such a limitation is not in line with the letter and spirit of the law and relevant regulations.  The IEC’s denial of the UDP’s right to political expression through the public broadcaster is unacceptable.

“Therefore, the UDP is not submitting any new content merely to fill airtime on GRTS.  The party would rather continue to use other media than to forfeit its right to use the public broadcaster without undue hindrance.”

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