Deyda Hydara remembered by media fraternity

Sarjo Camara-Singateh

The media fraternity in the Gambia and the world continue to decry impunity in the Gambia as still Deyda Hyadra’s killers are yetDeda to be arrested and brought to justice.

Today marks the 12th years since late Deyda Hydara was gunned down by an unknown assailant who triggered the bullet in his head, which led to his untimely death.

This unresolved killing of Deyda is lingering in our minds and hearts of many, especially media personnel. Foroyaa spoke to media chiefs and veterans.

Mr. Pap Saine, the Managing director and co-founder of Point Newspaper stated that 12 years on still no justice for his friend and colleague late Deyda Hydara. He noted that they grew together as childhood friends and which led to the founding of The Point newspaper which is 25 years old today. He said the death of Deyda Hydara has brought an excruciating pain in his inner self, “it is still a shock and unbearable condition for me and all the media practitioners in the country,” he said.

Mr. Saine noted today resembles an ugly day which reminds him of my childhood friend and colleague who was gunned down by an unknown assailant. He extends his gratitude to his staff who are tirelessly working hard to maintain the paper’s reputation. He noted that despite the difficulties they face The Point newspaper could receive 4 international awards from Germany, Austria, South Africa and Vienna.

He appealed to the incoming government to consider the killing of Deyda Hydara so that he can have justice.

Lamin Cham, Managing Editor, The Standard spoke said “Deyda was a legend and Deyda Hydara was a great inspiration to me. Actually, I knew his voice first before meeting him in person. He was the golden voice behind many commercial adverts on the then Radio Syd. I remember the most memorable ones were the Berec Battery, N and N, Jaltron, and of his mid night course his Rancontre programme.

“Later when I became a journalist I met him in person in 1992 in Banjul and our paths crossed again and again. There he was tutoring and preparing us at many workshops organised for us, then young journalists by the Press Union where he was a pillar.

He often said journalism in the Gambia would change for the better.

The day he was killed I was covering a ceremony at the July 22 Square when the shocking news came. I was amazed how people as far as London could hear the news before most people here in The Gambia. I rushed to the RVH mortuary where I found Demba Jawo who had just flown in from Zambia and brother Pap Saine who almost collapsed in grief. It was a very sad day that still has a lasting effect on me.

“I think as journalists we should ensure that his memory and legacy lives on. As for what happened to him, well time and God will take care of that. I feel he is alive in our hearts because he cannot be forgotten both for what he had done for press freedom.

Sam Sarr, Managing Editor, Foroyaa Newspaper said: Twelve years ago, on 16 December 2004, Deyda Hydara, co-founder of The Point was gunned down by beasts with human masks.

Deyda has gone but he shall never be forgotten. He shall always be in our hearts and minds. He died standing up for freedom of the media and his death marks an important day in our calendar; a day in which a defender of media freedom was martyred.

Mr. Saikou Jammeh, the Secretary General of the Gambia Press Union said this year his institution will not commemorate the Deyda Hydara anniversary due to the current political shakeup but they will issue a statement marking the event.

He calls on the outgoing president Yaya Jammeh and his government to honour the ECOWAS court judgment.

Mr. Saikou Jammeh stated that the killing of Deyda Hydara has led many parents to deny their children taking up the profession and those in the profession decided to be careful by censoring themselves. “No one wants to die but if you are killed, you deserve justice,” he said.