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GPU wary of NIA background checks for State House correspondents

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The Gambia Press Union has issued a media alert asking its members not to comply with the request until it gets a sit-down with the authorities over the issue.

The press office of State House has revealed information on Wednesday that journalists who have sought accreditation to report from the top office will need to be screened by National Intelligence Agency (NIA) before they access the press pass.

Details of how this process will be done, what information will be required and how information supplied will be protected is not revealed.

The Gambia Press Union in a statement on Wednesday urged all members not to comply with this request until further discussion is made with the Presidency’s press office on the issue.

Gambia is emerging from two decades of dictatorship where the NIA has become a torture center for journalists and political opponents.

Below is the Media Alert:

March 27, 2019 – Fajara: The Gambia Press Union (GPU) has confirmed that the Office of the Director of Press and Public Relations (DPPR) at the Office of the President has required media practitioners to undergo screening at National Intelligence Agency – State Intelligence Services – as part of procedures for press accreditation to cover events at State House.

The Union has briefly engaged the Office of the DPPR and has been assured that the measures are credible and are part of efforts to put in place a standard procedure for press accreditation.

Notwithstanding, the GPU wishes to call on all media professionals to wait until the Union exhausts all consultations with a view to ensuring that the new measures do not compromise the freedoms and safety of media professionals. We will continue to engage the Office of the DPPR on this and other important matters.

We commend the Office of the DPPR for the tremendous work that they are doing in creating an enabling environment for media professionals in the country.

Secretary General

The Gambia Press Union

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