2016 IN BRIEF THE MEDIA

By Amie Sanneh

We have been publishing a summary of the stories that we published in 2015. We continue to summarise stories relating to the media, the fourth estate, which plays an essential role in a democratic society.

GPU HOLDS TRIENNIAL CONGRESS

The Gambia Press Union(GPU) held its triennial congress on Saturday 18 April, 2015 at the GTMI hall in Kanifing in which a new executive was elected into office. Bai Emil Touray was elected president for a term of three years..GPU President, Emil Touray

Speaking after his re-election, Mr. Touray said GPU belongs to every practising journalist who is a registered member. He emphasized that unity is strength and that once they are united no one can come between them. “We are the voice of the journalists and we will continue to advocate for freedom of expression and media freedom,” said the GPU president.

 

GPU OBSERVE WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY

The Gambia Press Union joined the rest of the world to commemorate World Press Freedom Day on Sunday, 3 May, 2015 with a symposium held at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.

The theme: “Let journalism thrive towards better reporting, gender equality and safety in the digital age”.

Emil Touray President of GPU, said apart from a day of reflection, a day of stock taking and for mapping out the way forward for Journalism, it provides the opportunity in remembering the fallen heroes of Journalism, those who have moved heaven and earth to promote and defend media freedom. In mentioning few he cited the likes of Deyda Hydara and Dixon Colley.

Mr. Touray said that the GPU like any other progressive organisation would at all times work in promoting professionalism in the Gambian media, adding that GPU would all time defend media freedom and freedom of expression.

GPU COMMEMORATES 9TH ANNIVERSARY OF CHIEF MANNEH’S DISAPPEARANCE

The Gambia Press Union (GPU) on Friday 13 July, 2015 held a seminar in commemoration of the ninth anniversary of the disappearance of Chief Ebrima Manneh.

The commemoration of the former Daily Observer Newspaper’s presidential affairs reporter’s disappearance was inundated with calls on the Gambia government to facilitate the United Nations investigation on the matter.

The parents of the former Daily Observer newspaper’s presidential affairs reporter Chief Ebrima Mannehnarrated their ordeal at the occasion marking the ninth year anniversary of the disappearance of their son.

The old Father, Sarjo Manneh, told the audience that he has experienced the worst trauma and sleepless nights in the past 9 years because he missed a valuable son that is irreplaceable.

Chief Ebrima Manneh

GAMBIA MEDIA LAWS CHALLENGED AT ECOWAS COURT

The Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) and three Gambian journalists on 7 December filed a legal claim before the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice to challenge laws relating to the media in The Gambia which violate the right to freedom of expression.

The Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) and three Gambian journalists on 7 December filed a legal claim before the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice to challenge laws relating to the media in The Gambia which violate the right to freedom of expression.

There are currently four Applicants: the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) and three Gambian journalists who currently live in exile outside of The Gambia. The press release has not indicated the names of the Gambian journalists.

The claim of the applicants is that their right to freedom of expression has been violated, including “the use of criminal laws that prohibit criticism to be made of the government.” The applicants say that the laws, which have their roots in colonial times when they were used to suppress dissent, are now specifically used to target journalists Lawyer Ayereand human rights defenders. They ask the Court to make a declaration that their very existence violates the right to freedom of expression.

Lawyer Ayere, representing applicants

 

FOROYAA REMEMBERS DEYDA

DEYDA SPEAKS AGAIN FROM THE GRAVE

 HIS SILENT VOICE MUST BE AMPLIFIED

 We could hear Deyda asking his killers: What have I done to you to infuriate you to release all this venom that choked my vital pores and made me to gradually bleed to death, leaving my wife, a widow and my children orphans. Yes natural death comes to us all but unnatural death is outrageous and should not be condoned in a society whose members claim to be Muslims and Christians. Have you forgotten your scripture? Were you not told that you should do on to others what you wish for yourself? Would you wish to be murdered for just amplifying divergent views and dissenting opinions?  Views are not daggers, grenades or bazookas. Opinions cannot kill. They could be easily deflected. The views I amplified could have been fought by views.

Anyway, I am now away from your troubled world but you, my killers, would join me here someday.

I left a history of fighting what I thought to be wrong. You would live a history of doing Deyda Hydarawhat is wrong. I will be remembered for my deeds and you for yours. I am proud of mine. You are in hiding. You will never be brave enough to acknowledge your deeds. You will die many times before your death by living in denial. You know that someone knows that you did it. Some one knows that you are a killer. He will always see you with those eyes and you will continue to hang your head in shame for your infamy.

This annual remembrance is more than I could ask for. It seems they intend to keep me in their hearts and minds forever. I am grateful that such remembrance will prevent others from being murderers. If that is achieved, the remembrance would not have been in vain.

Foroyaa: Well spoken Deyda. Those who hide in the dark to do evil deeds know themselves even if others do not know them. Their foul deeds are a part of history. Your victimisation is a part of history. Posterity will pass its judgment and those found guilty would be condemned to eternal pillory.