Gambian govt. closes 4th radio station as political crisis escalates

Gambian President Jammeh sits in his office during a news conference in Banjul...Gambian President Yahya Jammeh sits in his office during a news conference in Banjul, after election results announced him the winner of presidential polls, September 23, 2006. Tens of thousands of people crammed onto Gambia's tiny island capital Banjul on Saturday as Jammeh threw a massive beach party to celebrate his re-election for a third term. REUTERS/Finbarr O'Reilly (GAMBIA)

Gambian authorities have closed Paradise FM, the fourth radio station to be shut since last week, one of its presenters said on Monday.

Paradise FM was closed on orders allegedly given by the Communication and Information Ministry, presenter Andrew Gibba said.

The closure came hours after Paradise FM interviewed a spokesman of a coalition backing president-elect Adama Barrow, to whom President Yahya Jammeh has refused to cede power after losing the Dec. 1 election.     

The closure followed those of Teranga FM, Hilltop FM and Afri Radio.

The authorities have not given an explanation for any of the closures.

The Gambia Press Union has expressed concern that the closures could signal a crackdown on independent media amid the country’s escalating political crisis.

Mr. Barrow has said he would take power on January 19 as mandated by the constitution, despite Jammeh having challenged the election results in court.

After more than two decades in power, Jammeh, 51, lost the election to Barrow, a former real estate agent who was little known even in Gambia before he announced his candidacy.

 

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