The Standard newspaper has reacted to a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), published below which seems to suggest that a story carried in this medium entitled ‘Anger In Germany Over Deportation Agreement’ was false.
Lamin Cham, the editor-in-chief of The Standard said the release from MoFA is “most unfair” to the newspaper because in the same story mentioned, the journalist contacted and carried the version of the Minister of Information Demba Jawo clarifying that no deportation agreement was signed between the two countries.
Cham explained: “Even our reference to the deportation agreement was in quotes meaning it did not come from us. I think MoFA’s media advisers did a poor job and grossly skewed the messages and misinformed the higher-ups on this matter because The Standard newspaper article on the matter was complete and balanced with the government version highlighted through the minister of information who explained that no such agreement was signed on a deportation agreement with Germany. One only needed to read our article to know that we are the first to come with the government’s clarification. We also reported that both the German Foreign Office and the Office of the President also denied the allegations,” Cham said.
He added that what MoFA needed is a competent media adviser “who will efficiently digest, analyse and make fitting clarifications on matters the ministry feel the need to clarify, rather than coming out with confused statements that will only cloud their messages further.”
MoFA press release
It has come to the notice of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Cooperation and Gambians Abroad of the Republic of The Gambia that The Voice newspaper had published in its issue of Monday, 18th December 2017, an article with the headline: “1500 ‘Back Way’ Boys Await German Deportation”. A similar story was carried by The Standard Newspaper in its publication of 20th December 2017, under the headline “Anger in Germany as Gambians protest ‘deportation agreement’.”
The Ministry is also informed that the same news is making circles in various social media platforms. In light of the above, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs wishes to inform the general public that the referred publications are FALSE. The Government of the Republic of The Gambia has not concluded any deportation agreement with the Federal Republic of Germany during the recent visit of President Frank-Walter Steinmeier to The Gambia. On the contrary, the visit of the German President was a very productive one that opened up avenues for the strengthening of our bilateral relations, the outcome of which was communicated to the press through a press conference at the end of the visit.
It is disheartening to learn that the historic visit of the German president is being portrayed in such negative light even after the above-mentioned media outlets were informed that this information was false news.
The Gambian nationals in the country and abroad are therefore urged to exercise restraint and not to take any action(s) that are based on these false publications/rumours and that have a potential to undermine our bilateral relations with the Federal Republic of Germany.
The media fraternity is informed that the Government of The Gambia is always available for verification of news stories prior to publication and we encourage them to make use of this opportunity.