‘Colonial laws hampering Gambia’s development’

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By Sanna Camara

Colonial laws in The Gambia have been designed to protect the interests of colonialists, argued Mr. Salieu John, arts educationist and writer.

Mr John argued that such laws have done nothing other than hamper the development of the country.

Mr. John said this in reaction to revelations that the Gambia’s first and only copyright law before 2004 was enacted over 70 years ago.

The law did not cover music and fine arts

According to a presentation by Hassoum Ceesay, Director of the Gambia’s Copyright Bureau, this law dealt mainly with published materials.

“It was meant to protect published works by the colonialists. The law did not cover music and fine arts,” Mr. Ceesay said.

‘We still have them’

Chairing a session in the ongoing ECOWAS Copyright training for stakeholders in the copyright business, Mr. John lamented the fact that “we still have them” in our statute books until this day.

“One such law is the General Order (G.O.), which prevents civil servants from expressing themselves in the press without permission from their department supervisors,” said Mr. John.

He argued: “This law is not meant for us. It was meant to protect the colonialists.”

 

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