The Gambia government has refuted claims made by a pan-European television network, Euronews on the October 14 edition of its Insiders section where the presenter pitted The Gambia together with Somalia and Sudan as countries where FGM “rank highly.”
In a press release signed by the minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure, Hon. Sheriff Bojang, he described the reporting as lazy journalism and a classic example of jaundiced Western press being unable to extricate itself from the warped mindset conditioned by decades if not centuries of prejudice that condemns all news from Africa as bad news. The release also called on Euronews to retract the false news, and apologise for the misleading information about The Gambia. Below is the full text of the release:
On Sunday October 14th the pan-European television network, Euronews, featured a segment on its ‘Insiders’ segment on female genital mutilation as “UK’s hidden crime”.
In the 7-minute long broadcast, the presenter pitted The Gambia together with Somalia and Sudan as countries where FGM “rank highly”.
The reportage is at best lazy journalism and at worst a classic example of jaundiced Western press being unable to extricate itself from the warped mindset conditioned by decades if not centuries of prejudice that condemns all news from Africa as bad news.
In November 2015, His Excellency, The President of the Islamic Republic of The Gambia, Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh, Babili Mansa, declared, of his own accord, that the practice of FGM was banned in The Gambia.
In December the National Assembly passed legislation criminalizing the practice and laid down stiff but proportionate penalties. This move was universally applauded.
Since The President’s declaration, the incidences of FGM reported in The Gambia can be counted on the fingers of one hand. This is a sterling achievement and is impacting very positively on the lives and reproductive health of girls and young women in The Gambia. There are countries where FGM was banned and legislated against yet the practice is prevalent as before. The Gambia is not such a country and the Euronews report should have reflected this to give the updated, truthful and accurate account about the state of the practice of FGM in The Gambia.
The Government of The Islamic Republic of The Gambia under the visionary leadership of President Jammeh has been a pacesetter in the world in legislating the most socially progressive laws, the last being the ban on early and forced marriage.
It is poor journalism to rely on outdated data randomly sourced from the Internet when, updated information reflecting the current reality is readily available.
We therefore ask Euronews to retract the false news, set the record straight and apologise to The Gambia for the broadcast of misleading information about The Gambia.