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Two journalists fired allegedly over article on president, reinstated after minister's plea

(MFWA/IFEX) - Two journalists, Lamin Dibba and Ebrima Jaw Manneh, of the "Daily Observer", a Banjul-based pro-government daily newspaper, were dismissed by the newspaper's management on 7 February 2007.

Although the reason for their dismissal is unclear, MFWA sources indicated that the two journalists were accused of writing a story in a way that deliberately undermined President Yahya Jammeh's claims of treating HIV/AIDS and asthma.

Dibba and Manneh, according to the sources, wrote that 93 asthmatic patients treated by President Jammeh recently have recovered. But the management said it should have been written that, "93 of the patients have called to say they have recovered".

The sources said the management impugned the journalist's motives and described the story as an attempt to question President Jammeh's ability to cure the diseases.

The management also complained about the poor quality of photographs that accompanied the story.

The letters dismissing Dibba and Manneh were signed by Saja Taal, the managing director of the newspaper and a close associate of President Jammeh's.

The journalists were reinstated on 12 February after a plea from Yankuba Touray, minister of fisheries and natural resources.

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