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Authorities shut down radio station

(MFWA/IFEX) - Gambian authorities on 13 January 2011 ordered the closure of Taranga FM, a privately-owned community radio station in a suburb of Serrenkunda, Gambia's largest city.

Although no reason was given for the closure, it followed a visit to the station by personnel from the notorious National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the detention of Ismaila Ceesay, the proprietor of the station.

Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) sources reported that Ceesay was grilled for hours and subsequently released without charge.

The sources said Taranga FM is the only station that broadcasts in the local languages and widely reviews the few privately-owned newspapers in the country.

This is not the first time the authorities have shut down a radio station in a similar fashion. Two other stations, Sud FM and Citizen FM, were arbitrarily closed for no reason by the repressive regime of President Yahya Jammeh. In February 1998 the NIA shut down Citizen FM, which was also broadcasting in the local language, and arrested its proprietor, Baboucarr Gaye, and news editor Ebrima Sillah.

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