Mr Jobarteh is standing trial on a charge of broadcasting without licence when he was said to give information to ‘Freedom Radio’ during a UDP political rally held at Tallinding and Brikama without a licence and thereby violating the law governing the Information and Communication Act. He denied the charges.
During the trial, the prosecution presented two witnesses and tendered a host of exhibits including a cautionary statement obtained from the accused and an article downloaded from Freedom newspaper, in order to build a prima facie case against Mr Jobarteh.
Upon the prosecution’s closure of their case, the defence counsel, Ousainou Darboe made a no-case submission but his application was dismissed and Mr Jobarteh was asked to enter his defence.
In his evidence in chief before Magistrate Ibrahim Kijera of Bundung yesterday, the accused said: “I have no broadcasting institution neither do I operate any broadcasting institution nor do I manage any broadcasting institution. Yes, I do belong to a political party called the United Democratic Party but I am not part of the executive but I am assigned by the executive members and part of which include relationship between the party and the media.”
He acknowledged that he attended the political rally held at Tallinding and Brikama on December 14 and 15 last year and his duty was to organise the meeting, take images of the supporters and speeches at the rally for onward relay to the party’s supporters abroad who called him on Skype in a form of conference.
When shown a printed document containing photos and the messages he was alleged to have given Freedom online newspaper, Mr Jobarteh said they were printed when he was arrested while in the custody of the National Intelligence Agency.
Mr Jobarteh denied ever giving information to Freedom Radio adding that there was no licence for one to give information via Viber or Skype as they were not media for broadcasting information.
Meanwhile under cross-examination, Jobarteh confirmed using his party leader’s Skype account at the rally to communicate but he did not know whether he communicated with Freedom Radio online.
The matter was adjourned to May 27 for prosecution to continue cross-examination.
By Baba Sillah]]>