WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY IN PURSUIT OF THE TRUTH IN GOOD FAITH IN THE PUBLIC INTEREST

The media in Gambia  commemorated World Press Freedom Day  on 3rd May
2015.  The Gambia Press Union organised a symposium on the theme
“Towards better reporting, Gender equality and safety in the digital
age.”The media is just an instrument. It depends who controls it, how it is
used and in whose interest. Democratic states create an open society
for the operation of the media. Hence in the process of amplifying
divergent views the truth becomes more evident, injustice becomes more
exposed and advocacy becomes more focused on real issues.
The tyrannical state utilises the media as a propaganda tool. It puts
the security and safety of the journalists in particular and the
population at large by establishing draconian laws which are relied on
to conduct arrests and detentions without trial and carry out
intrusive and intimidating monitoring  exercises to hinder  freedom of
expression which invariably results in self censorship.
Hence to enlarge media freedom requires the building of genuine
democracy which is inconceivable without an open society which thrives
on transparency and accountability in promotion of the general welfare
of the people.
Women could only make progress through the elimination of gender
disparity through democracy. Tyranny breeds patriarchy.
The Ministry Of Information and information Technology was represented
by Mr Malik Jones.  The US ambassador was the only diplomat present.
Mr Ba Trawally graced the occasion but Mr Suwaibou Conateh was absent.
The words of wisdom given by the Octogenarian will continue to be food
for thought for all the young journalists. Will the government listen
and repeal the laws which inhibit freedom of expression? Will it leave
the media to regulate itself to promote professionalism?
Will the state media be opened to divergent views? Will the ban on Daily
News be lifted? The future will tell.