The Gambia Press Union has disclosed that it was not consulted on the drafting of the medial services bill expected to be tabled before the National Assembly soon.
The Attorney General and Minister for Justice Ba Tambadou recently said the Union had been consulted in the process.
However, Lamin Jahateh, programme manager at the GPU said at no time was the Union consulted on the drafting. “The only time we know about this was when our partners Article 19 told us that they were working on the draft and we even refereed them to our lawyer. But that was directly between our lawyer and Article 19 and we are not even sure whether what our lawyer imputed to them is even captured in this draft,” Mr Jahateh said.
Asked what the bone of contention about the bill is, Mr Jahateh said quite apart from the fact that the board of directors, director generals and unit heads are to be appointed by the President, the power and nature of institutions created by the draft is not in many senses the independent media regulatory body envisaged by all partners.
Mr Jahateh further revealed that GPU has set up a committee of eminent persons who are currently going through the media services bill and they will come out with an assessment that will determine the stance of the Union and media fraternity on the matter.