By Madi Jobarteh
Here is a brief comment from President Adama Barrow which tantamount to a direct threat to both the media and citizens! Watch.
It should concern each and every citizen that Pres. Barrow would face the nation to appear as if he was providing good advice to the media when in fact he was threatening the media. To make a blanket statement that the media should be neutral and report the truth is in fact saying the media is untruthful.
It is obvious that there are multiple media platforms that support Barrow publicly. Not only would these Barrow affiliated media openly and directly caricature his opponents as they like but they would also go further to promote only President Barrow and no one else. Yet Barrow has never told those media platforms to stop what they are doing because they are not neutral.
Therefore why is Barrow facing the media today to tell them to be neutral? Which media houses or journalists is he referring to? Where and how did the media demonstrate partiality or lack of neutrality? What does he mean by being neutral and report truthfully? What is the problem?
Barrow must clarify these issues otherwise Barrow is acting like another anti-media President called Donald Trump who calls the journalists of his country fake media. Trump is notorious for corruption, ineptitude, racism, lying and buffoonery!
It is obvious that the media in The Gambia have exposed multiple instances of corruption and abuse of office in the Government of Adama Barrow. But for most of the time this president totally ignored those reports. It was because the public outcry was too much in the case of the Ministry of Fisheries PS Banja that there was action!
But Barrow himself has never come out to speak to these media reports by raising his concern about corruption, abuse of office and inefficiency in his Government, why?
Yet Barrow would have the temerity to face The Gambia to lampoon the media as a bunch of irresponsible people! Who needs Barrow’s advise especially about the media! If he were to be a genuine advisor for the media he would have continued with his press conferences. Above all he would have taken the cue from the various media reports to ensure justice and accountability on public officials in his Government. But he never did that. So who needs his advice?
The crux of the matter is, like Donald Trump, Adama Barrow does not like to be held accountable for the corruption, poor performance, inefficiency, abuse of office and the lack of transparency of his Government. Consequently to confront the media with the intention to shut down the media is to ridicule the media. By attacking the media in this way he is trying to divert public attention away from his poor leadership and poor performance and thus making the media the trouble in the country. This is indeed a very dangerous and irresponsible comment that no democrat will make!
I hereby urge GPU to immediately respond to Pres. Adama Barrow for his attempt to threaten freedom of the media. The President is using subtle means to undermine the integrity of the media hence silence them. By his comments he is sending a message to citizens to not listen to the media but to see the media as liars and peddlers of fake news! That is directly endangering the lives of journalists!
This onslaught must be confronted by all citizens because if he succeeds in undermining the integrity of the media by making the public to lose trust and confidence in the media, it means he will have succeeded in shutting down the media hence remove any and every means to hold him to scrutiny. It is such situation that is a fertile ground for dictatorship to rise up again in our country.
GPU and all citizens must demand that President Adama Barrow withdraw his unfounded and malicious comments against the media. He is giving false information to citizens which is unbecoming of a democratically elected president in a republic. He must be told to always promote a safe and conducive environment for the media. He must not threaten the media. By silencing the media it means the President is seeking to silence all Gambians! We must resist such tyrannical moves.