The Banjul Magistrates Court acquitted and discharged Sainey Mk Marenah, a freelance journalist, and Musa S. Sheriff, editor-in-chief of The Voice newspaper of charges of conspiracy to commit a felony and publication of false news. The defendants had pleaded not guilty to both charges and could have faced sentences of up to two years for each separate charge, in addition to a fine, if found guilty.
The charges were in relation to an article published in The Voice, a privately owned Gambian newspaper, on 9 December 2013. The article concerned the defection of 19 youth supporters of the ruling Alliance for Patriotic Re-Orientation and Construction to the opposition United Democracy Party. A rejoinder was written and published shortly after the APRC contested the story.
With financial support of the Media Legal Defence Initiative, the defence made a “no case to answer” submission at the close of the prosecution case. Gambian law allows defendants to argue that the prosecution has failed to establish a prima facie case against the accused persons. A ruling for “no case to answer” allows the case to end immediately.
Magistrate Jacqueline Nixon Hakim held that, although it was indisputable that a publication was made, the evidence presented was “neither direct or circumstantial” in showing the publication was false or that there had been a conspiracy between the journalists. Concluding that the prosecution had failed to prove its case, the prosecution of Marenah and Sheriff could not continue.
The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union and its coordinated fight against the use of Pegasus spyware
Welcome to the latest instalment of our Partners blog series. In this series, we interview our partners from around the world about their critical work in protecting freedom of expression. This time we spoke to Dalma Dojcsák, Executive Director of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU), about spyware. HCLU is one of Media Defence’s partner organisations. Founded […]
Learning Report 2022
Read our Learning Report 2022 Media Defence values the importance of learning and improvement. We undertake a variety of internal and external evaluations each year in order to understand the effectiveness and relevance of our programmes, ensuring that we learn from the experiences of the lawyers and journalists involved. We also do this to explore […]
Online threats, intimidation and judicial harassment against environmental journalist Alberto Castaño
Alberto Castaño is an environmental journalist supported by our partner Fundación para la Libertad de Prensa (FLIP). FLIP is a non-governmental organisation that promotes press freedom in Colombia. It also oversees the rights of citizens to be informed. Since 1996, FLIP has assisted more than 2000 Colombian journalists at risk. As an environmental journalist working […]