In 2004, the Gambian National Assembly passed legislation that journalist Deyda Hydara was strongly against, and rightfully so, as the legislation was a new law which imposed extensive jail time for reporters that were convicted for what the Gambian government considered "defamation" or "sedition." For years, media outlets and journalists in Gambia had already been under attack without anyone being prosecuted. In fact, as Blasting News reported last year, Gambian President Jammeh said last year that he would not launch an investigation into the death of a protester, defying the United Nations and Amnesty International.

Justice for journalist

Some of the attacks against media outlets included arson which was already responsible for burning down the home of a correspondent for the BBC, Ebrima Sillah, who was also one of many journalists who had been critical of then President Yahya Jammeh. The BBC was also threatened and the offices of a Banjul-based newspaper called Independent had already been set on fire twice. Two days after the mentioned legislation had been passed, Deyda Hydara was leaving his office from the Gambian capital of Banjul at night when he was shot and killed by two assailants.

They perpetrators were not brought to justice until recently. On May 19, International arrest warrants were issued by a Gambian court for two ex-soldiers who are suspected of killing the journalist.

The names released of the suspects are former Colonel Kawsu Camara and Major Sanna Manjang who were apparently part of Gambian President Yahya Jammeh's assassination squad referred to as "Junglers." The international warrant was issued by the principle magistrate Isatou Janneh-Mjie ordering the arrest of the two suspects wherever they might be as they are apparently not in Gambia.

Cleaning up after Jammeh

Deyda Hydara was co-owner of an independent newspaper in Gambia called The Point and had worked as a correspondent for Agence France-Presse as well as Reporters without Borders. The warrants are a result of the new President Adama Barrow who beat Jammeh in an election last year. Jammeh refused to leave office after decades of rule to the point where West African troops had to pressure him to give up power.

Jammeh is now living in exile in Equatorial Guinea.

President Barrow's effort to hold Hydara's murderers accountable is part of a bolder campaign to "clean up" Gambia's image. According to The Point, Gambia's Justice Minister Aboubacarr Tambedou announced in May that all of Yahya Jammeh's known assets in the country had been frozen. This also affects 131 properties that are under the former president's name. An investigation revealed that between 2006 and 2017, the former president had withdrawn D189 (4.1 USD) million worth of funds from the Housing Finance Corporation and Social Security. Barrow is also reportedly cleaning up the image of the country's tourism trade as well.