Thursday, 13 September 2012 20:57Dear Honourable Sallah,
(JollofMailbag) – Re: “Halifa is the biggest Fool” Complaint
In your letter of complaint to the Daily Observer Board, you state as follows:
“On Monday 10th September 2012, the Daily Observer published an article under the caption 'Halifa Sallah is the biggest fool' in quotation marks. It has the picture of Lamin Waa Juwara on the side. No word is added to indicate that the quotation is from him. The public was left to make the association that the remark was made by Lamin Waa Juwara”.
Having looked at the offending Daily Observer story again, I must say, Honourable Mr. Halifa Sallah, that you are completely incorrect.
The Daily Observer story quotes Minister Lamin waa Juwara on the very first paragraph as follows:-
“Commenting on the recent assertions by Halifa Sallah in one of the local newspapers challenging the decision of the authorities on the death penalty, to the extent of inviting government for a panel discussion, Juwara said Halifa’s remarks don’t make any sense. “He [Sallah] thinks he knows all while he is the biggest fool.”
Using those direct comments from Minister Lamin waa Juwara, the Daily Observer produced, quite correctly, the headline “Halifa Sallah is the biggest fool”.
Personally, I would not have used the headline because no right thinking person thinks you are a “fool”. Nevertheless, there is no doubt that Lamin waa Juwara did say it as quoted by the Daily Observer and the Daily Observer journalists are entitled to use the quotation. It is rather ironic that it is your former colleague in NADD who now states, that “Halifa is a fool”, whereas that phrase was invented and used for many years by his former enemy, the APRC stalwart FJC.
Like you and most Gambians and the international community, Mr. Halifa Sallah, I remain appalled by the callousness and unlawful nature of the executions that took place. Like many others I am giving this awfulness much time and I have just received a letter dated 6th September 2012 from my Prime Minister’s office. You too have done a gallant job, Hon Halifa Sallah, and your efforts are to be admired and applauded since you are on the ground in The Gambia – like the Daily News. You guys take risks that we do not face.
Having said that, Honourable Halifa Sallah, it appears, from Gambian on-line discussions that your “inviting government for a panel discussion” has miraculously united Lamin waa Juwara, Mai Fatty and the Gambian Diaspora in viewing your action as “foolish”. Some in the Diaspora indeed consider the term “foolish” as being rather charitable.
So Honourable Sir, your first point of complaint is simply incorrect: because the Daily Observer did quote Lamin waa Juwara to show that he did say what the Daily Observer quoted him as saying.
Your minor points can be dealt with summarily. You say Daily Observer is promoting “hatred” and “contempt” against your good self. Fox News and much of the American press have been promoting hatred and contempt against Obama. Americans may still return Obama to the White House inspite of all that. My point, Honourable Sir, is that you do not need to worry about the “hatred” and “ contempt” Lamin waa Juwara may direct at you.
Lawyer Darboe dealt with such hatred and contempt from Minister Lamin waa Juwara rather well. Having stated in your early self-interview on the matter that you would “dump it in the bin” where it belongs, I am surprised that you changed your mind and wrote this rather futile letter of complaint. Reasonable and non-partisan persons would not in any way view you with “hatred” and “contempt” because of what Lamin waa Juwara said.
You also seem to be pretty harsh in describing the Daily Observer as “gutter press”. Daily Observer is an APRC newspaper, just as Foroyaa is a PDOIS newspaper. It is their job to promote the views of the government and minimise the views of the opposition. That is what politics is about.
Finally, Honourable Halifa Sallah, I notice that you ran a story, which you say is based on “rumour”, about Dr. Mbowe supposedly killing the 9 Mile 2 inmates by “injecting them”. Dr. Mbowe vehemently denied the “rumour” to you – but you still ran the story based on “rumour”. Is that, in your own words, “moral” and “ethical” journalism?
Notting Hill, UK.
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