Madi Jobarteh

As we celebrate World Press Freedom Day today, always realise the attempt by authorities to suppress free speech and free press in the name of state secrecy and security in the midst of, and in covering up their corruption and incompetence as can be seen in this judgement in the case between New York Times and Washington Post versus the US Government on the publication of the Pentagon Papers in 1971…

“In the First Amendment, the Founding Fathers gave the free press the protection it must have to fulfill its essential role in our democracy. The press was to serve the governed, not the governors. The Government’s power to censor the press was abolished so that the press would remain forever free to censure the Government. The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell.”  Justice Black. NYT v. US. 403 US 713

“Journalism is a profession with its rules and one cannot be a journalist and flout its basic principles. What’s more, the fundamental law of this land guarantees that we make sure that government is accountable to the people for things it does in their name. Here again we didn’t draft the Constitution, which got inspiration from the covenants and other international laid down rules about freedom of expression. Meaning that even if the Constitution failed to empower us to do so we could rely on these instruments that The Gambia as a nation ratified.”  The Late Veteran Deyda Hydara in an interview with the Independent newspaper in early 2000.