President Adama Barrow went to the Fonis and spoke to the community elders about reconciliation Saturday. This is a very good thing and should be encouraged and commended. Looking at the amount of polarization that went on in the period leading to, during and immediately after the December 2016 presidential election, reaching out to the home base of the former president is a step in the right direction.
However, it is unfortunate and totally unacceptable that the Director of Press Mrs Amie Bojang-Sissoho did not see fit to inform the independent media of this very important development. It is not for nothing that the media is said to be the Fourth Estate. The media is very important in the democracy and development in a nation. When we talk about the media, we are not only talking about the state media, we are talking about all media houses in a given country.
Sidelining the independent media is very bad and counterproductive. Why would the president want to go to Foni and then this step – as important as it is – is treated as a secret? The idea is that the people in a country should be aware of whatever is going on in their country. It is to inform them of the activities of the government that the media is important. Thus, the state media cannot do this alone, we need the participation of the independent media.
The Director of Press and the rest of the government know this fact well. They have seen firsthand the power and function of the independent media in a country when they used it (the independent media) to champion their cause in the struggle to usher in a new dispensation. If the zeal to transform the Gambia into a democratic state is still on top of the agenda, they cannot – should not– sideline the independent media. The work of the Director of Press is to coordinate and serve as a link between the presidency and the media (everyone included). We hope the director of press would do a better job next time.