By Sanna Camara
The sudden arrest of the manager of the independent FM broadcaster Teranga FM by state security agents last week may be attributed to the controversy surrounding the release of a hip hop single by Killa Ace.
According to family sources, the single, which is currently the hottest, most played Gambian single on social media was on demand by fans and listeners of the independent FM broadcaster in Banjul.
“Ku Boka C Geta G, which scored more than 10,000 plays on SoundCloud in less than 20 hours of its release, addresses the problems of the youth and unemployment,” What’s On Gambia reported.
Song openly criticizes the government
According to the online portal, dozens of his fans took to Facebook to praise him for his courage in being the first rapper to openly criticize the government shortly after its release.
Although it was unconfirmed, reports in Banjul said there have been threats that any radio presenter that played the song on air will be arrested.
“I shared it on Facebook and I was like ‘I now challenge the radio presenters who were saying that our Hip Hop artist are not going on social and political issues, [to] drop this … in your programs.’Wala ma hamneh anka ngen (Wolof for a snake-like creature, a vicious animal).
“And one of our presenters commented and said he is gonna drop it on his show,” a radio presenter, who claims to be a friend of Killa Ace, told Gambia Beat.
“I promise them [fans] that I am gonna drop it any moment…” a staff of Teranga FM told Gambia Beat this morning. He said it may be for this reason that their station manager was picked up by agents of the State.
‘We don’t run any program that government did not like’
“I wrote it on Facebook and immediately when Ace release the sound people where calling me from all angles,” the sources added.
Apart from the news broadcast he said Teranga is [not] running any program that the government did not like… “
We don’t even know why he was picked up,” the source said, pointing out that Alagie Ceesay was picked up “by unknown personnel who said that they wanted to see him.”
The radio has made name for itself among the crop of music playing, commercial and mainly socialite FM stations across the country.
Radios not allowed to engage in civic discussions
The government takes a lot of pride in the number of radio stations in the country as testimony of freedom of expression and expanding press freedom. However, despite their numbers, analysts say none among them is allowed to run current affairs programs or engage in civic discussions.
Ceesay’s FM station, Teranga FM, was shut down twice in the past couple of years without any court order. It relays news from local newspapers to listeners in local languages, as well as host talk shows on contentious issues affecting society.