Saturday, 16 February 2013 18:13(JollofNews) – As World Radio' s Day was celebrated on February 13th, the role and impact of the country's FM and community radio stations continue to be a subject for debates in many media circles.
In the absence of news programming in most of the privately-owned radio stations, there is less opportunity to address administrative and financial corruption, discuss development policies, unveil daily injustices, and provide ideas and solutions.
This prevailing situation has hampered the freedom of expression of ordinary citizens and constitutes a major obstacle to the dissemination of information despite the fact that the advent of the Second Republic has witnessed a proliferation of many private radio stations across the country.
Since the growth in the number of radios is yet to open a window of opportunity for Gambians, many journalists have expressed concerns over the need for proprietors of radio stations to fulfil the duty to inform.
Alieu Famara Sagnia, country director of the International Centre for Journalists (ICFJ), expressed his big disappointment over a situation he described as "sad", stressing that even the state-owned Gambia Radio Television Services (GRTS) is not playing the role it is supposed to play.
Mr Sagnia cited neighbouring Senegal as example where radio services represent the country's main media.
"When you see what they do and you compare it to a country like ours, then you'll realise that the Gambian audience is missing a lot," he told JollofNews.
"It is true that many radio stations have been registered in recent years, but the fact remains that radio stations under the First Republic had more freedom compare to now where their activities have been restricted.
“What happened to Taranga FM is a case in point. Similarly, the cases of Citizen FM and Sud FM Banjul constitute enough evidence to show that radio stations are not free to do the kind of programming that the staff or the proprietor want to do."
Saikou Jammeh, editor of the closed Daily News and who also doubles as a stringer for IPI, said although the radio industry is saturated, proprietors and journalists are shying away from their responsibility of informing the public.
Acknowledging the fact that radio stations are still limited and ineffective in The Gambia, Mr Jammeh called on proprietors to bear in mind that the medium constitutes the most significant window that could provide the Gambian Diaspora with news about conditions in the country.
"Radio has a very important role to play in this country. For anyone that has to come into news business that should be cardinal to you. You must inform the public!"
Written by Abdoulie John
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