Dixon Colley remembered

Monday, February 15, 2010

"He was a dedicated man, a truthful and committed journalist during his days. He was also referred to as a man who lived an unshakable principle and convictions no matter what it takes."

These qualities of William Dixon Colley were made known to those gathered at Tango Hall over the weekend to attend a symposium organised by the Gambia Press Union (GPU) in memory of the late Dixon Colley.

In a paper presented on his behalf by Madi Jorbateh, on the theme: "The Life and Times of Dixon Colley," D.A. Jawo, former GPU President, described the late Dixon as "a great journalist."

Giving a brief biography of Dixon, he revealed that Dixon was born on the 14th November 1913 in Banjul. And after his formal education he taught at his alma mater, Methodist Boy High School. His career as a journalist started since his school days. 

Upon his return to The Gambia in 1963, he began publishing Africa Nyaato, which later became The Nation. During that period, he served as a correspondent for BBC, Reuters and the Sunday Express. He died on 17th January 2001. Mr. Jawo further revealed that the late Dixon Colley has also worked as a journalist in Nigeria, and the UK.

Halifa Sallah, who made a presentation on the "Contribution of Dixon Colley in the socio-economic development of The Gambia," said that forum’s of this nature are not only meant to honour fallen heroes, but provide lessons for the living in order to set a better destiny.

He cited, among other things, The Nation newspaper and the library and public interest campaign that he'd lived for as his contribution to the betterment of the nation. He maintained that people should serve as assets to the society and not a liability.

"Dixon was a contributor to nation-building by not only raising concerns to the public, but also comment on them on the way forward, thus providing solutions," he said.

Mr. Sallah maintained that it is a collective responsibility for all to serve our societies in other to live in a free society. GPU doyen Swaebou Conteh stressed that the likes of Dixon Colley indeed deserve to be remembered for what they have done for the country.

Dr. Feye Ogunade, Senior Legal Officer, African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, made a presentation on "the Impact of Criminal Libel and Defamation on Free Speech," and encouraged journalists to make efforts to know the laws that surround their work. He urged them to always report the truth and nothing else, as well as double-check their stories before publishing them.

The session ended with a question and answer session by the participants.

Author: Nfamara Jawneh