Gambians support media freedom but want government to prevent false news and hate speech, Afrobarometer survey shows

Free speech

Most Gambians support media freedom in principle but endorse government interference to prevent the publication of false news, hate speech, and views that criticize or insult the president, the latest Afrobarometer survey shows.

An overwhelming majority of Gambians say the media is in fact free to do its work without government interference.

Most Gambians get their news from the radio and television, the survey shows, but social media and the Internet are also major sources of regular news. At the same time, a majority of citizens blame social media users for knowingly spreading false news.

The Gambia’s media environment has become somewhat less restrictive in recent years, including a 2018 Supreme Court decision that the criminalization of defamation is unconstitutional. The 2021 World Press Freedom Index ranked the Gambia 85th out of 180 countries in media freedom, up two spots from the previous year.