Target: Yahya Jammeh, President of Gambia
Goal: Do not prohibit criticism of officials on the internet
The Gambian government passed a bill that would give lengthy sentences and massive fines for those who criticize officials on the internet. Citizens could be persecuted for drawing a satirical cartoon or comic strip, impersonate or make derogatory comments towards an official. A cartoon could lead to a sentence of 15 years and a fine up to $50,000. Memes, de-motivational posters, and the Philosopher Raptor — internet jokes that frequent the interwebs — could be grounds for conviction in Gambia.
The government states the bill is meant to suppress violence against the police and political figures, but this violates a human’s right to freedom of speech. The government also claims that such representation is considered ‘false news.’ Amnesty International states that these repressive measures are on a ‘shocking new level.’ The Gambian people should have the right to express their opinions regarding the conduct of their government. Denial of these basic rights is immoral and unjust.
This bill comes after several unethical actions the Gambian government has taken to silence their people. Radio stations and newspapers have been forcibly shut down, and foreign journalists banished from the nation. Sign this petition and tell the Gambian government that their actions are inhumane and cruel.
To Yayah Jammeh,
The newest bill that has been introduced is very concerning because it limits the Gambian people’s freedom of speech on the internet. In addition this bill wrongfully imposes a hefty fine and imprisonment for those who say something derogatory or satirical towards a government official. While you claim that this is done to curb violence against the government, this is not the case. Violence will erupt because the people are crushed by an oppressive government. To also say that publishing such works is considered false news is wrong.
It is imperative that human beings are able to state their opinions regarding the government. By limiting their freedom of speech, society cannot progress in terms of wealth and happiness. Radio stations and newspapers have already been forcibly shut down. Foreign journalists have been expelled from the nation and your activists have been sent to prison. A nation that cannot voice its opinion in a safe and nondestructive medium will turn to violence to express its discontent. This bill regarding the internet must be repealed for the sake of of your nation and because freedom of speech is a right for every human being.
[Your Name Here]
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