Speaking in an exclusive interview with The Standard, he said: “We are partners in development with the government. There may be some instances of misunderstanding but we are not enemies. The government and the media are condemned to live together because we are partners in development. We should not be seeing each other as enemies because in any partnership you have misunderstanding but that does not mean we are opposed to government. We want to support some government policies but we don’t have access to information. Sometimes when you approach public relations officers or government officials they dodge you. They say ‘I am not aware’, running away from their responsibilities. They are not fair to us. If we report, they say we are not fair or accurate and they are the ones who push us to that. The spokespersons of all the institutions should take their responsibilities and do their job correctly. The government should appoint a spokesperson or director of press and whenever there is a big occasion all the media should be invited. The media laws are here and since they are here we should be very careful and know how to cope with them. The only thing we can do is to appeal to government to abolish these draconian laws.
“In any country you have laws that guide human beings and the repeal of draconian media laws does not mean journalist will do everything to tarnish the image of the government or anybody. The courts are here for libel. People sue when they are not happy with what is written about them. The government should have a lenient policy with journalists. We should sit down and iron out our differences to forge partnership. But the journalists should also be responsible. We should always be objective and have the two sides of the story. We are not here to praise only the government or only the opposition. We should do balanced reporting as requested by the constitution: promotion of divergent views. What I hate is for newspapers to promote character assassination. We should promote and pray for the continued peace of The Gambia. We should promote democracy, divergent views and peace among all peoples of The Gambia”.
The veteran journalist added: “It is a very good thing for the government to set up the school of journalism which is very long overdue. I think we should commend the government for that because it is a plus for Gambian journalism. When somebody does good you must appreciate what he or she does. I would like to commend Gambian journalists for their great work. Despite the fact that we don’t have a school of journalism, we have talented Gambian journalists who are very promising. Despite the fact that we don’t have the school of journalism we don’t have anything to envy other African countries because we have good training in the local media houses. I am really, very happy to see these young journalists in the terrain.”
You can read the full text of Pap Saine’s interview on Bantaba column this Friday.
By Sainey Darboe]]>