Friday, September 17, 2021

GBA President Reacts to Gambian Leader’s Plan to bring Lasting ‘Solution’ to Insults

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Gambia Bar Association President, Mr Salieu Taal, has on Monday reacted to a statement issued by Gambia Government Spokesperson, Ebrima Sankareh, who said in working with Parliament, the Gambian leader hopes to eventually come up with legislation to bring a lasting solution to the abuse and insults innocent citizens are subjected to daily on social media platforms.

See below the statement issued by Mr Taal:

I think the President’s plan to find a lasting solution to curbing insults on social media has to be interrogated within the context the statement was made and the timing.

Whilst, i do not condone the use of insults or derogatory language against anyone or any platform, it is my view that any attempts to criminalise or introduce insult laws criminalizing insults on social media or online platforms could end up unduly policing social media content ( censorship) and would eventually be used as a tool to stifle freedom of expression and press freedom. The Executive /Government should focus on ensuring that the civic space is widened and our democracy consolidated through the promulgation of progressive legislation and the repeal of draconian, repressive and archaic provisions of the law. 

In fact, the President should have by now signed and given Presidential assent to the Access to Information Act which has already been passed by the National Assembly since 1st July 2021.  I trust our parliamentarians as our elected representatives and in line with their solemn duty as enshrined in section 112 of the constitution will not be party to any plan that can potentially erode or dilute our democratic gains from 2017 to date. The prevailing culture of insults and toxicity currently can be better addressed through the Inter Party Committee ( IPC ).

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