Gambia to jail Internet pranksters

AFP-JIJI

Lawmakers in Gambia have introduced long prison terms for anyone convicted of poking fun at the government or public officials online.

Under the new law, Internet users face up to 15 years imprisonment and $90,000 fines for a raft of offenses that include spreading “false news” against or “caricaturing” government functionaries and politicians. Those taking to the Web to impersonate public officials or to commit any offense already deemed criminal will also fall foul of the new sanctions.

A sliver of land nestled within Senegal with a narrow strip of Atlantic coast, Gambia is ruled with an iron fist by President Yahya Jammeh. In April, the country introduced laws criminalizing male prostitution, cross-dressing and the singing of abusive songs in public.