Gambia to jail Internet users making fun of governmentAgence France-Presse
BANJUL—Lawmakers in the Gambia have introduced long jail terms for anyone convicted of going online to poke fun at the government or public officials.
Under the new law, Internet users face up to 15 years’ imprisonment and $90,000 fines for a raft of offenses including spreading “false news” against or even “caricaturing” government functionaries and politicians.
People taking to the Internet to impersonate public officials or to commit any offense already deemed criminal will also fall foul of the new sanctions.
“In the recent past, some citizens of the Gambia have waged concerted efforts to pit the people and the security officials of the Gambia against their government,” Information Minister Nana Grey-Johnson told parliament before tabling the bill late Wednesday.
“They do this by inciting the people to engage in unpatriotic behaviour, spreading false news and engaging in criminal defamation against government officials. Such tendencies, if unchecked, are a recipe for chaos and instability in any country.”
A sliver of land nestled within Senegal with a narrow strip of Atlantic coast, the Gambia is ruled with an iron fist by President Yahya Jammeh, who is often accused of muzzling journalists, among other rights abuses.
The country introduced new laws in April criminalizing male prostitution, cross-dressing and the singing of abusive songs in public.
Recent Stories:‘Everything in Bituin’ in Triple Threats 35 mins elapsed Joyce Pilarsky’s JPP Daring Collections bring glamour, luxe in Cinderella 38 mins elapsed No use bashing her; she doesn’t care 1 hour elapsed Filipinos join HK protests 2 hours elapsed Asian premiere of Haruki Murakami-inspired dance works by James Cousins at Peta 2 hours elapsed Asian shares mixed, dollar breaks 110 yen mark 2 hours elapsed Vice President Binay believes crisis to eventually pass 2 hours elapsed 509 new HIV cases in August, up by 33%; male transmission high – DOH 2 hours elapsed