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DR CEESAY SAYS MEDIA CONTRACT DESIGNED TO FILL GAP IN ACCESS TO INFORMATION

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By Omar Bah

The Minister of Information has said the controversial D40 million contract awarded to five media houses and two content creators is not meant to promote Gambia government’s agenda but to fill the gap in access to information about government programmes.

The contract, which has since attracted widespread criticism, is awarded to Fatu Network, Star TV, QTV, Paradise TV, Eye Africa, Sparkling Media, and Fandema Multimedia.

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It is expected to last for one year, and each media house will receive over D5 million.

Speaking in a Star FM exclusive, Dr Ismaila Ceesay said: β€œI want to start by stating that the money given to the media houses is not meant to sell government agendas. That is not the essence. The government didn’t give that to the media houses to promote its agenda. I put that aside. What happened is that access to information is a human right matter, and whatever the government is doing, even if it is constructing a one-kilometer road, the Gambian people should know about it.”

Minister Ceesay further said the government is doing a lot of infrastructural development works that the Gambian people should know because those projects are funded by taxpayers.

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β€œIn order to promote accountability and transparency, the government said why not look at certain media houses, set criteria, and support them because this is happening in other countries? The government has constructed a good number of road networks across the country, including difficult-to-reach areas like the Hakalang and Kabada roads. The Gambian people should know about these things,” he said.

He said all the media houses that benefited from the D40 million will, in turn, reinvest those funds into the country and pay salaries to their Gambian employees. Dr Ceesay clarified that Sparkling and Fandema will serve as content developers.

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