By Tabora Bojang
The managing editor and co-publisher of The Point Newspaper, Pap Saine has said the media landscape in the Gambia is still yet to feel a full sea change of freedom because legislations that curbed media freedom under Jammeh are still in our constitution.
Saine, who co-founded The Point Newspaper together with his childhood friend and colleague Deyda Hydara who was killed by unknown gunmen in 2004, made these remarks in a chilling testimony before the TRRC yesterday.
“The draconian media laws are still here and they are not abolished, so I want to warn my colleagues to be aware of these laws.
It is not only the draconian laws but government can restrict the media in many other important forms,” Saine warned.
“I thought when Barrow took over there would be changes in terms of improving the press. You cannot improve the press without taking care of them.
Many African countries especially the francophone, give subvention to sustain the press.
What we are appealing to government is to promptly settle their advertisement debts because that’s what sustains newspapers to promote good governance and democracy,” he added.
He said the press and the government are partners in development, adding that as publishers what is more important to them is for the government to pay their debts in time because the papers are “crawling and require urgent intervention.”
Deyda Hydara killing
According to The Point publisher, operatives of the former government who became angry with Deyda’s journalistic work killed him while driving home from work.
He said he believed Hydara’s killing could have been triggered by two main reasons; his famous column Good Morning Mr. President and his stance to challenge the establishment of a national media commission, which was aimed at muzzling the media and its practitioners.