Whistle-blower detained despite positive steps in protecting freedom of expression

Expression

Significant strides have been made in protecting freedom of expression under President Adama Barrow's administration, including the recently-initiated and comprehensive media sector reform, in coordination with the Gambia Press Union. In addition, steps have been made to end impunity in crimes against journalists, such as issuing arrest warrants in May 2017 for two suspects in the 2004 murder of Gambian journalist Deyda Hydara.

Despite these positive developments, however, State Intelligence Services (SIS) employee Bubacarr Badjie was detained on 9th June 2017 for his petition to President Barrow accusing the SIS of dubious practices, condemning the incompetence of some SIS agents and criticising Barrow for not upholding his promise to reform the SIS. The SIS was previously called the National Intelligence Agency, and was known for its human rights abuses, torture and extra-judicial killings under former President Yahya Jammeh. Badjie's petition was reportedly leaked to the press, though he denies any involvement in leaking the information to the media. Badjie was held by police for several days and eventually released on bail on 12th June 2017.