(JollofNews) – As Gambia is emerging from 22-year of dictatorship by the Jammeh regime, government and the media have expressed their readiness to move towards a more cordial relationship.
The new democratic dispensation provides an opportunity to right the wrongs of the past as Gambians have decided to put an end to the ‘rule of fear’.
“We are committed to working in collaboration with you people,” Information Minister Demba Ali Jawo told journalists during the first ever media dinner held last Wednesday at the Hotel School in Kanifing,
some 7 km away from Banjul.
The media fraternity suffered a lot under the past regime, and went through hardships as journalists were killed, ‘disappeared’ for exercising their duty to inform. A hostile environment that caused self-censorship, and prompted many journalists to flee the country for fear of their life. Since the advent of the new regime, a new trend of freedom of the press has restored journalists’ confidence as they enjoy regular pressers by gov’t and the Presidency.
Minister Jawo reaffirmed Gambia gov’t commitment to pushing ahead with major media laws reform that would bury draconian legislation that was used by ex-dictator Jammeh to muzzle the press.
Speaking earlier, Cherno Jallow, one of the doyens of the country’s media fraternity, lauded the initiative, and reminded journalists of their obligation to keep alive the memory of those who lost their life in standing up against dictatorship.
“We have a bidge at the highest decision making body,” he added while referring to the appointment of veteran journalist Demba A. Jawo as Minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure.
The Director General of Gambia Radio Television Services (GRTS) Ebrima Sillah said when people are committed to something, they come out of it stronger.
After years of exile, Sillah returned back home to take up top post at the State-owned TV.
“What we should not concede is the freedom that we have will be given on silver platter,” he said in attempt to warn journalists against succumbing to the euphoria of the new political dispensation.
Press union leader Bai Emil Touray urged the media to desist from undermining our democratic gains. “We’ll always fight for the rights of journalists, but we will not do anything that will derail our democratic gains,” he emphasised.
West Coast Radio MD Peter Gomez gave the vote of thanks as media chiefs, journalists from the print, electronic, and online news outlets took part in the historical event.