The Board of Directors of the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) has commended the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) for its commendable efforts in ensuring a peaceful transfer of power in The Gambia from ex-President Yahya Jammeh to President Adama Barrow. It also called in President Barrow to undertake urgent reforms to restore human rights in the country.
In a 10-point resolution issued at the end of a meeting which held on January 25 and 26, 2017, the Board indicated that the ECOWAS’ action on the Gambian situation was one that will help strengthen and consolidate democratic governance across West Africa.
It congratulated the new Gambian President and urged him to undertake urgent reforms that will help ensure good governance, and respect for the fundamental rights and freedoms of the Gambian people.
“As a commitment to the human rights reform agenda, the Board further calls on President Barrow to take urgent steps to unconditionally release all political prisoners and detainees under the Yahya Jammeh regime. A similar gesture should be extended to journalists who were arbitrarily detained or imprisoned under the regime,” the resolution stated.
The Board further commended the people of The Gambia for their resort to peace and dialogue during the transition process and for remaining resolute in their quest for democratic consolidation and respect for human rights.
The two-day meeting which was chaired by Mr. Edetaen Ojo of Media Rights Agenda was scheduled to discuss and approve MFWA’s work plan and budget for 2017.
The Board then held discussions with Gambian media experts, editors and the leadership of The Gambia Press Union (GPU) on the recent political challenges in The Gambia.
The meeting discussed the prevailing context of press freedom and freedom of expression in The Gambia as well as the challenges and prospects for improving the media and freedom of expression landscape in the post-Jammeh era.