Pap Saine, co-founder of The Point Newspaper and RSF Correspondent in The Gambia, has said the country has made significant progress in World Press Freedom ranking this year.
“The Gambia is ranked 5th in Africa and 46th in the world among 180 member countries of RSF – Reporters San Frontiers or Reporters Without Borders, “Mr Saine, a doyen of the Gambia media, highlighted.
Saine, who delivered a succinct statement at a function organised today 3rd May by the Gambia Press Union (GPU) to mark World Press Freedom Day, said this year marks the 30th anniversary of the occasion.
Mr Saine describes the ranking as a big plus and good feature for the journalists and government of The Gambia, saying under the present government “no journalist had been arrested, tortured or a media house closed or burnt down.”
The veteran journalist also said that among the rules and regulations to obtain a good position by any country in the ranking is the absence of arbitrary arrest, torture, killing, or burning down of media houses or offices because of journalists practicing their job or profession.
Mr Saine added that the situation of journalists in The Gambia is “much better now” compared to the Jammeh era.
He advised that the government and the press should work together for development and promotion of press freedom, saying the government and the press are not enemies but partners in development.
“We should support each other,” he said. “I thank God we have this achievement compared to the Jammeh era when media houses were being burned down, journalists arrested, murdered and most of them went into exile.”
He added: “There is big change in the new era and what government and journalists should do is to closely work together. The government should also abolish draconian media laws, pay for adverts published for them to help media houses to sustain their papers,” he said.
The media guru also advised journalists to always be professional and objective in their reporting, while government authorities should open up to the press and give them the necessary information “so there will be no fake news”.
The Gambia actually did better than many other African countries including Senegal, which is ranked 27 in Africa and 73 in the world. “We hope and pray we will do better next year,” he concluded.