I am writing to express my disappointment over Gambian media’s apparent failure to provide a full-blown and extensive coverage on the historic US-Africa summit which was held last week in Washington DC, USA.
This was an event termed by many commentators as ‘symbolic’ because for the first time, the United States sought to redirect its partnership with Africa through dialogue. It was also part of a blatant attempt by America to outpace the influence of other countries like China in Africa. Issues of investment, peace, regional stability and governance were discussed and pledges and promises were made. Just as the new century drags by, any prospect or renewal of partnership between the United States and Africa would assume greater significance.
Notwithstanding these developments, the Gambian press has however failed to provide the public with information on deliberations made during the summit. It is appalling to state that in a meeting of such magnitude and importance, many Gambians at the time had little knowledge of the proceedings. Many got their information from other international media outlets and the Internet. The Gambian press especially the print media did not provide the public with enough information unlike other newspapers in other African countries. Nigerians newspapers, for example, provided extensive coverage of events which has gone a great deal in informing the people of that country. Though, the electronic media reported on the event, it was also far inadequate.
In a way, the issue of Gambian media not being able to provide coverage on these events can be partly due to the lack of resources to send journalists to attend such meetings. It may well also be that Gambian media outlets have not been working closely with government and other stakeholders in this regard. Media houses in the country need support to be able to do their work properly.
As a close observer of developments as they happened in that part of the world, it occurred to me that the media was a crucial stakeholder to informing us about what’s best of it all. But this country’s media’s apparent lack of preparation to cover the event extensively betrayed my expectations. I think it is high time that Gambia media becomes more aggressive in working with government and other stakeholders including embassies to make sure that they can have representation whenever and wherever necessary. This is important especially when our interests as Gambians are at stake.