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Newspaper to resume publishing after five months of censorship

(MFWA/IFEX) - 6 April 2011 - The privately-owned "Standard" newspaper, which was banned in 2010 by the Gambian authorities, has been given the green-light to resume operations. Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) sources reported that the decision was announced by the newly appointed State House Press Secretary, Fatou Camara, during a rare interaction between President Yahya Jammeh and media owners and editors in the country. President Jammeh chastised the private media during the meeting warning that: "If I am to kill 10,000 lives to save millions of lives, I will do so".

The sources said that following the lifting of the ban, Sheriff Bojang Sr., the editor of the monthly "Standard", announced that the newspaper would reappear on newsstands on 1 April. However, the sources said the newspaper did not appear as announced.

In October 2001, personnel of the notorious National intelligence Agency (NIA), acting on the orders of President Jammeh, suspended the newspaper after it published its second issue.

The "Standard"'s inaugural issue in August 2010 ran an article about former President Dawda Kairaba Jawara based on information from a book written by the editor. The book entitled "Kairaba", which means "Big Peace" in the Mandinka language, is about President Jammeh's coup d'état in 1994.

At the time of the ban, Bojang was interrogated by NIA officials and made to report two to three times weekly to the NIA offices in the course of one month. During the interrogations, Bojang was questioned about the newspaper's source of funding.

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