Thursday, April 28, 2011

Kairaba Hotel bars photo journalist from covering human rights forum

Kairaba Beach Hotel
The Kairaba Beach Hotel in The Gambia has banned Mr. Baboucarr Trawally, a photo journalist from covering the NGOs Forum held at the hotel on April 25, 2011, following complaints that he has been selling empty Compact Discs (CDs), to the hotel guests.
Mr. Trawally, the President of the Photographers Association in The Gambia, was asked by the Hotel’s security personnel to stop filming and taking photographs during the opening of the Forum on the Participation of Non-governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the 49th Ordinary Session of the ACHPR and the 23rd African Human Rights Book Fair, in Banjul on Monday.

The security seized a video camera, a digital camera, a video-stand, a video light, two video cassettes and two bags from him. Trawally told The Voice newspaper that the security personnel told him that they’ve been instructed by the hotel management to ask him out.
The decision followed allegations that Trawally had sold two CDs that do not contain any pictures to two delegates during last month’s Africa Endeavour Conference which was held at the hotel.
Trawally, who is also a sport reporter for the Gambia Info, a paper published by the Information Department, admitted that the CDs where in fact empty, but said it may have been as a result of an “electronic” problem.
He added: “The two delegates did complain that the CDs I sold to them were empty and I decided to refund them their money, but I cannot understand why the hotel management has chosen to bar me on this particular occasion, having covered a couple of programmes at the hotel after the Africa Endeavour Conference, including the West African Football Union (WAFU) General Assembly on April 9.”
When contacted by phone from the Front Security Desk of the Hotel, the Chief Security said he was busy and could not speak to this paper, however, two of his staff, Lamin L. Jarju and Siaka Bojang agreed to speak.
According to them, they have received complaints on numerous occasions from some of the guests at the hotel, who said Trawally had sold empty CDs to them. “At some point, he was even suspended from covering events held at the hotel, later on, the suspension was lifted following his appeal,” Bojang said.
Jarju added: “His materials are here, you can see for yourself, as soon as he comes, we will return them to him, all we want is for him to come and pick them up, but we cannot allow him to cover programmes here anymore.”

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