World Press Freedom Hero (Honoured in July 2010)
Gambian publisher and editor Pap Saine was named an IPI World Press Freedom Hero in honour of his courageous work for press freedom in the face of attacks and harassment. Pap Saine is the publisher and editor of The Point, and a long-time Reuters correspondent for West and Central Africa.
Saine co-founded the independent newspaper The Point in 1991, in collaboration with colleagues Deyda Hydara and Babucarr Gaye. Following Gaye’s resignation, Saine and Hydara ran the paper together until Hydara’s assassination in December 2004.
Because of his reporting, Saine has been arrested, criminally charged and imprisoned. In 2009, Saine was sentenced to two years in prison with five other journalists, who had criticized Gambian President Yahyah Jammeh’s comments about Hydara’s unsolved murder and press freedom. They were pardoned by the president in September, to coincide with the month of Ramadan.
In a letter written to IPI after Saine received news of his award, Saine wrote, “I believe also that in days of darkness as we fight against unfair treatment and human rights abuses, there was always a search light on us and your institute has just proven that.”
On Thursday, Saine told IPI by phone: “It was a big surprise to receive this award and it will boost the morale of journalists at my paper. 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.”
Pap Saine is the third journalist from West Africa to be named an IPI World Press Freedom Hero, after Kenneth Best of Liberia and Freedom Neruda of the Ivory Coast.