Jammeh may be a
"admiral," but he was not commended by Obama. (Reuters) Nebraska
Frank Smyth with Mohamed Keita/CPJ Staff
The Community to protect journalists (CPJ) has been described as false claims that Barack Obama congratulates Gambian "President Yahya Jammeh for the 4 awards bagged, which trumpeted a September 17 headline of the Daily Observer newspaper.
International press freedom defenders denied that the Daily Observer's headline which reported that "two of the awards with an accompanying letter came from the president of the United States of America, Barrack [sic] Obama, who commended the Gambian leader for the accolade, and also commended him 'for helping to address the most pressing needs' in his community," are false.
CPJ also referred to similar report on the Gambia State House's website which states: "In a letter accompanying his two awards, the U.S. President Barrack [sic] Obama described President Jammeh as an inspirational leader and thanked him for his exemplary dedication, determination, and perseverance for the development of the
However, in a widely circulated CPJ report: "The claims are false." In an respond to CPJ query asking for confirmation of Gambian reporting on the Gambian president receiving awards and a letter from President Obama," White House National Security Council spokesman Bob Jensen wrote in an e-mail to CPJ: "Those reports are incorrect. The Gambian president did not receive what the media reports are claiming."
CPJ further went on: "In fact, among the four announced awards, only one from the
"The Gambian State House website reported that three of the awards, including the
CPJ also referred to Daily Observer's story which noted that "the fourth stated honor was an "Honorary Vocational Bachelor's Degree" bestowed upon Jammeh by the "Printers and Publishers Guild of Northern Germany;" but however asserts that German authorities told CPJ they found no record of any such award; extensive Internet searches in English and German revealed no such guild or other organization with a similar name."
"That the handful of Gambian private newspapers has not challenged Jammeh's questionable award claims is indicative of the chill of self-censorship that has fallen on continental Africa's smallest republic," said the Community to Protect Journalists, adding that "this is the result of years of repression, including a series of unsolved arson attacks on media outlets, the unsolved assassination of leading editor Deyda Hydara, ongoing arrests and Jammeh's periodic threats to the media."