Journalist honoured as hero

2010-07-09 17:14

Vienna - Gambian newspaper editor Pap Saine has been honoured by the International Press Institute for his work defending media freedom, the Vienna-based watchdog announced on Friday.

Saine, managing editor and co-founder of The Point daily, was named this year's IPI World Press Freedom Hero "in honour of his courageous work for press freedom in the face of attacks and harassment".

Following the killing of Deyda Hydara, another founder of The Point and the Gambia correspondent for Agence France-Presse (AFP), Saine landed in jail in 2009 for criticising Gambian President Yahya Jammeh.

Along with five other reporters, Saine was convicted of sedition and defamation and sentenced to two years in prison for attacking remarks made by Jammeh about Hydara's murder.

The six journalists were pardoned by Jammeh in September, to coincide with the month of Ramadan.

"Despite arrests, imprisonment and the loss of his friend Hydara, Saine has continued to fight for press freedom," IPI director David Dadge said in a statement, praising the journalist's "courage and integrity".

Saine said of the award: "It is a big motivation and inspiration for journalists who are fighting for freedom of the press and the interests of justice, democracy and human rights not only in the Gambia but in all of Africa."