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The panel of judges at the country’s top court will issue a verdict as to whether false publication is constitutional or not


Gambia’s chief justice and president of Supreme Court Hassan Jallow

The Supreme Court of The Gambia will on Wednesday rule over the constitutionality of false news and false publication in the country’s statute books.

The Gambia Press Union has started the litigation since 2015 challenging the constitutionality of sedition, criminal defamation, false news and libel.

However, the Barrow administration said they have conceded on the unconstitutionality of libel, criminal defamation and sedition but maintained that false news places “reasonable restriction necessary in a democracy”.

The lawsuit was first filed in 2015 by Gambia Press Union but it could not proceed because the former autocratic ruler Yahya Jammeh refused to appoint judges.

Since the case resumed, the new government that attempted to prevail on the Union to withdraw the case has conceded on all the points except false news and false publication.

The laws in questions includes communication act 2015, a law that is considered Gambia’s most draconian media law.

The lawyer for the Gambia Press Union, Hawa Sisay Sabally, said the laws in question are “conditions that criminalized speech and as such they are void”.

“Even if the court were to hear that these laws hold a legitimate aim, they are disproportionate in their application,” Sisay said in one of her court appearances.

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