By Lamin Cham
UDP has said it will no longer take part in the current IEC- supervised election broadcasts on national media, GRTS, because of ‘restriction of political speech”.
In a protest letter addressed to the IEC, the UDP said the IEC ‘s interpretation on the use of GRTS’ election broadcast by parties “stifles a candidate’s right to review and criticise the incumbent’s policies, programmes and conduct”.
“This is both impractical and inconceivable in a democratic environment. We believe such a limitation is not in line with the letter and spirit of the law and relevant regulations. The IEC’s denial of the UDP’s right to political expression through the public broadcaster is unacceptable, and therefore, the UDP is not submitting any new content merely to fill airtime on GRTS. The party would rather continue to use other media than to forfeit its right to use the public broadcaster without undue hindrance,” the UDP’s letter shared with the press, stated.
The party reminded the IEC that political expressions are protected by the Constitution of The Gambia and reflected in various legal documents and must be upheld especially during election campaign periods.