Gambia: Counsel Camara Wins GPU’s Press Freedom Hero Award

Lawyer Lamin B.S. Camara has been awarded again with the Freedom Hero Award at the 7th National Journalism Awards (NJA) held on Friday, 2 Dec. 2022 at Sun Beach Hotel in Bakau by the Gambia Press Union (GPU).

B.S. Camara is a lawyer who has defended many journalists in previous years during Jammeh’s regime. He has defended the GPU and has taken many cases against the state just to defend press freedom. He used to go to the NIA – the then National Intelligence Agency – to inquire about journalists who were arbitrarily arrested and detained.

In recognition for his heroic fight in promoting and upholding press freedom in The Gambia, GPU considered him a deserving personality for its Freedom Hero Award, bestowed on him at its 7th National Journalism Awards.

The NJA is the highest and most prestigious Journalism Awards in the country organised by the GPU as a flagship event of the annual commemoration of World Press Freedom Day. The Awards honours and celebrates courage and excellence in Gambian journalism across all types of news and information media.

Brief Profile of Lawyer Lamin B.S. Camara

B.S. Camara is a private legal practitioner and the proprietor at Dandimayo Chambers, established 20 years ago.

He has practised virtually all areas of the Law, but principally in Criminal Law, Constitutional Law, Land Law, Commercial, Intellectual Property, and Media Protection; that is, free speech protection.

He was the retained Lawyer for the Gambia Press Union for several years and a Lead Resource Person for the Media Foundation for West Africa from 2006 to 2012.

He believes in the freedom of the press, but he is not a free speech absolutist.

In the course of his work with the Gambia Press Union, he had interacted with several Gambian media organisations and media practitioners – providing legal advice and defending journalists and media workers in Gambian Courts.

He provided legal advice to both former presidents of the Gambia Press Union, Ndye Tapha Sosseh and Bai Emil Touray.

From 2006 to 2016, he was one of the most prominent legal defence counsels in most, if not all, press freedom and free expression issues or alleged transgressions that went to court.

In that capacity, he represented the entire Executive Board of the Gambia Press Union in the State Vs. Ebrima Sawaneh and 6 Others in 2009.

He was also the Lead Defence Counsel in the following Cases:

the State Vs. Lamin Fatty in 2006/7;the State Vs. Abdul Hamid Adiamo in 2008;the State Vs. Fatou Jaw Manneh in 2008; the State Vs. Bai Mass Kah in 2013;the State Vs. Sainey Marenah and Musa Sheriff in 2014;just to name a few.

He also represented several other media practitioners at investigative level on cases which never went to court.

On one occasion in 2012, he had to be at the then Headquarters of the National Intelligence Agency in Banjul from 6pm to 2:30am just to protect journalist Abdoulie John, while the then GPU President Emil Touray and former Secretary General Gibairu Janneh waited outside in order to raise the alarm in case he and Abdoulie John were arrested and detained.

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