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Gambian Authorities Force Three Stations Off-Air

National security agents took Taranga FM, Hilltop Radio, and Afri Radio off the air on Jan. 1

The Committee to Protect Journalists is calling on Gambian officials to allow Taranga FM, Hilltop Radio, and Afri Radio to resume full broadcast their operations afte

r being shut down by the country’s national security agency.

The country has been in a political crisis since its current President, Yahya Jammeh, refused to admit his defeat in elections held last month and the closing of these three stations, CBJ says, are punishments handed down from the Gambian government for the stations’ news coverage of the ongoing political issues.

“The Gambia government’s decision to summarily censor three radio stations is a clear effort to limit people’s access to information during this critical period of political transition,” said CPJ West Africa Representative Peter Nkanga. “Authorities should immediately and unconditionally allow the radio stations to resume broadcasting and desist from muzzling the press.”

CBJ says Afri Radio was targeted by the Gambian government for announcing details of President-elect Adama Barrow’s inauguration. The station has since been allowed to rebroadcast music only, as of Jan. 3.

Taranga FM has come under harsher sanctions, CBJ says. In addition to being unable to broadcast, a Gambian court back on Nov. 8, 2016 convicted the station’s manager, who is in exile, of three counts of sedition and spreading false news.

The scope of Hilltop Radio’s punishment, other than that it is currently off-air, has not been reported.