Some Al Jazeera journalists had their press passes revoked by Gambia’s Ministry of Information and Communication on Tuesday, according to media sources.

Gambia’s President Yahya Jammeh has ruled for 20 years. On 1 January he blamed unidentified foreign dissidents and “terrorists” for the assault on his presidential palace.

The journalists were initially granted reporting credentials by the Gambian authorities to report on human-interest stories and HIV/AIDS treatment programs, but they were revoked on Tuesday after the team arrived.

Catherine Wambuo-Soi, one of the journalists, told media outlets that “we have got approval from the government to travel to Banjul to do some human interest stories, but unfortunately a day after our arrival, we were told by our fixer that the government through the ministry of information has asked us not to film anything or else risk being arrested.” 

SaharaReporters notes that Mrs. Soi’s reporting credentials were revoked on the same day her story titled “Being A Journalist In Gambia,” which was critical of the government’s human rights record, was published on Al Jazeera.

According to Mrs. Soi, Gambian authorities stated that she and her team were not permitted to report in Gambia until authorized by the Gambian President Yahya Jemmah.

The Gambia has one of the most atrocious human rights and press freedom records in world. President Jemmah immediately targeted the free media after he toppled the former government in a 1994 coup. The Freedom House, which ranks all countries in the world based the freedom of its citizens, has ranked Gambia one of the least free countries in the world.

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