By Tabora Bojang
The Minister of Tourism and Culture Hamat Bah has revealed that the government is in closing stages to introduce a new regulation which will stipulate that at least 80 percent of all music to be played on radio stations be Gambian.
He added that this measure is part of the government’s efforts to support the Gambian music industry and to redirect and refocus the Gambian populace towards the important values and virtues of their culture.
The minister made this revelation in Banjul where his ministry presented cheques for D405, 000 to organisers of 14 locally recognised community festivals across the country to assist them in their preparations.
“We have seen how Gambian artists who could have been rich, but instead they die in the streets with poverty because there was no system in place to protect them. People benefit from their products and they get nothing in return,” Bah said, adding that Gambia cannot afford to be dominated by foreign music and foreign artists when our artists are here and can be supported.
“To put a stop to this we are going to introduce a regulation that will ensure all music played on our radio stations are regulated by law and that 80% of their contents must be Gambian,” he said.
He said nothing will stop them from enforcing the law, adding that it is pathetic that despite the good work our musicians have done, they are reduced to beggars in our streets because no government system came to cater and protect them.
According to Minister Bah, the Barrow government desires to create 20,000 jobs by 2021 and that the country’s arts and cultural scene has the potential to realise this ambition with independent authority and support conferred on the NCAC.
The minister also expressed sadness over the eroding cultural values.
“We have lost our dress culture; our housing culture and even our behaviours with our children at home is not us and you can see what is happening to us today. People are dying of hypertension today more than Aids and Malaria because we lost our food culture and adopted things that are unknown to us.”