Friday, March 20, 2015

Shhhh. Secret trial in progress

We see from this Foroyaa column that not everyone is content with Gambia's conduct of a major court-martial behind closed doors:
When the media is barred from any coverage of a matter of public interest, freedom of media is violated. The media is supposed to hold a state accountable to the public. Criminal law is based on the aim to protect the individual, the public and their properties. Law enforcement agents are given the authority to arrest suspects and bring them before the court. 
Since anybody could be falsely accused secret trial could be a means of legitimising impunity. This is why a person should be tried before an independent and impartial magistrate or judge sitting in an open court. 
In this way the public would witness all the proceedings and the media would do coverage for the information of the wider public.

In this way, the larger fair-minded public would be able to decide whether the accused has had a fair hearing or not. 
Foroyaa has been making attempt to cover the court martial but the reporters are told that no media house is allowed to cover it. 
Hence the court martial is out of bounds for even the state media. What then is the public to believe or not to believe? The integrity of the trial is at stake when the public is unaware of who is officially charged and the crimes they are alleged to have committed. The mystery should end if justice is to be seen to be done.

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