Federation of African Journalists and Others v The Gambia, 13 February 2018, Application No. ECW/CCJ/APP/36/15
On 13 February 2018, the ECOWAS Court of Justice (the Court) ordered the government of The Gambia to pay compensation to four journalists for violating their rights and subjecting them to degrading treatment.
The case, brought by the Federation of African Journalists and four individual journalists, argued that the state had violated their fundamental rights by failing to protect the rights of citizens in accordance with the international instruments that had been signed by The Gambia, including the ECOWAS Revised Treaty, the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. It was submitted that security agents of The Gambia arbitrarily arrested, harassed and detained the journalists under inhumane conditions, and forced them into exile for fear of persecution as a consequence of their work as journalists.
The Court upheld the claim, finding that The Gambia had violated the journalists’ rights to freedom of expression, liberty and freedom of movement, as well as violated the prohibition against torture. As such, it awarded six million Dalasi in compensation to the journalists. The Court further ordered The Gambia to immediately repeal or amend its laws on criminal defamation (libel), sedition and false news in line with its obligations under international law.
The Court summary is accessible here.
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