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Friday, September 22, 2023

The need for unity in Gambian media


The recent noise that ensued between Star FM and other stations in the country, after alleged sensationalism was detected in the reports of veteran broadcaster Sarjo Barrow, suggests that there is no harmony among media practitioners or media houses in the country.

The rate at which some of these stations went on air, open their lines and allowed listeners to call in and condemn Sarjo was indeed disgraceful.

This is the time the Gambian media should unite and thrash out wayforward, following a 22-year struggle with impunity, detention without trial and many other inhuman treatments meted out to journalists.

It is time to unite under one umbrella, put our house in order and put in place mechanisms that will make sure the events of the past republic are not repeated

Translating news into Mandinka or any other local language is a herculean task and to those who do it and come out unstruck, we say a big thank you.

Reviewing newspapers accurately, and objectively every day, with hundreds of thousands of people listening in is not an easy thing at all.

Mr Barrow, with his over 30-year experience, is not perfect in this job, none of us is, and he strives to bring nothing forward but credible and factual news.

What the Gambian media needs is continuous training and capacity building programmes, especially for radio workers in this new dispensation that is so demanding.

Sensitive issues of this magnitude, which has the potential to damage one’s journalism career within the media must not be given prominence or discussed in public spaces.

This issue could have easily been discussed at GPU level, an institution established to look after the wellbeing and welfare of journalists, not on radios where dozens called in to ridicule our colleague Mr Barrow’s 3-decade efforts.

What happened is beyond both sad and disgraceful, and measures must be taken to make sure it never occurs again.

Let us respect and treat each other well, and hopefully maintain public trust and confidence in Gambian media.

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