Minister looks forward to ‘credible’ Government-Media partnership

4 May
World Press Freedom Day 2013 063

As part of celebrations, a procession was held from Africell on Kairaba Avenue to the TANGO office in Bakau. The procession is the first held on May 3 since 2001 (Photo Credit: MSJOOF/Globe/FPI)

By Modou S. Joof

Nana Grey Johnson has told journalists on Friday he hopes the Ministry of Information, Communication and Infrastructure can forge a “dependable and credible Government- Media partnership”.

Speaking on World Press Freedom Day on May 3, 2013 at the home of NGOs in The Gambia, TANGO,  in Bakau, the Minister of Information said the media has the right to criticise and to freely express criticism of government and governance.

“After three century of modern society the newspaper that has grown in to the generic umbrella of media has had an intrinsic role to play in the functions of government,” he said.

However, Johnson shy-away from discussing pertinent issues like reform of  draconian media laws, the need for a freedom of information law and the arbitrary closure of independent media houses.

He also accuses the media for reporting negatively about the country, which according to him, is driving away investors.

“Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media,” is the theme for this year’s World Press Freedom Day.

The Gambia Press Union-organised event supported by TANGO and the International Center for Journalists, ICFJ, was held in the form of a “policy dialogue” meant to engage in an analytical overview of the media situation in The Gambia and its ramifications on national development.

Gibairu Janneh, Secretary General of GPU call on The Gambia Government through the Minister of Information “to reopen The Daily News, The Standard and Taranga FM”. The three media houses were closed by the government since last year.

Ousman Yarboe, Director of TANGO hopes the Day offer the opportunity to make the Gambia a better place. He recognises the critical role of the media in national development.

While reflecting on journalists killed on the line of duty, Mr Yarboe said: “We should reflect on all aspects of media work. Journalists have a responsibility to provide the right information to the public at the right time.”

As part of celebrations, a procession was held from Africell on Kairaba Avenue to the TANGO office. The procession is the first held on May 3 since 2001.

The media and journalists in the tiny West African nation have seen numerous violations of press freedom and free expression for over a decade – ranging from harassment, arrests and detention, exile, arson, disappearance and in some instances, killed.

In December 1993, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted May 3 as World Press Freedom Day, following a recommendation adopted at the 26th session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991 Windhoek, Namibia.

That Seminar led to the adoption of the Windhoek Declaration on Promoting Independent and Pluralistic Media which calls for the establishment, maintenance and fostering of an independent, pluralistic and free press and its role in the development and maintenance of democracy.

On this Day, journalists and media practitioners reflect on the challenges of press freedom and free expression and as well salute colleagues who have fallen victims of repression and recognise those who have made significant contributions to the advancement of a free, independent and pluralistic media.

Note: FPI will publish a pictorial of the event.

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2 Responses to “Minister looks forward to ‘credible’ Government-Media partnership”

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  1. Journalists re-enforce call for freedom of expression in Gambia | Front Page International - May 5, 2013

    […] On the commemoration of World Press Freedom Day, 3 May 2013, journalists in the country processed from Africell head-office along Kairaba Avenue to TANGO, about half a kilometer, chanting the slogan “free speech, free press”. […]

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  2. The Gambia Excoriates Britain | Front Page International - May 6, 2013

    […] Minister looks forward to ‘credible’ Government-Media partnership […]

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