Newspaper Publishers’ Association (NEPA) in The Gambia has been launched
yesterday at Baobab Spar and Resort in Bijilo.
The organisation is expected to discuss things pertaining to newspapers operation in the country and to take their wishes and desires to make sure that The Gambia print media continuous to play its active role in the new dispensation but in professional manner.
The ceremony was graced by ambassadors and high government officials.
Prof. Pierre Gomez, the associate professor of Comparative Literature and also the dean of School of Arts and Sciences at the University of The Gambia, who has been dedicated the chief launcher, said he was very pleased to be associated with what he called ‘another history-making venture.’
He added that the day was great as it is akin to the history of September 1971. “I believe it should not take long for a follower of the emergence and evolution of Gambian Literature to connect today’s event to the establishment of “Ndaanan”, a literary magazine which resulted from a similar initiative as the one we are witnessing today,” he compared.
In recalling the great achievements of Gambian publishers, Prof. Gomez lamented that in September 1971, The Gambia’s Writers Club including Mr. Suwaibou Conateh, Mr. Charles Jaw, Mr. Hassoum Ceesay Senior, Dr Lenries Wilfred Peters, Mr. Gabriel John Roberts and others produced the first volume of a literary publication “Ndaanan” to provide an outlet for all creative Gambian writing.
“Our history has it that the business of sharing information through newspapers is inextricably linked with the history of writing in the Gambia’s newspapers such as Bathurst Times in 1871; Bathurst Observer, the West African Gazette in 1883 and The Gambia Intelligencer in 1896.
He said the launch alone prove that the work of an organic journalist is an essential ingredient in educating the masses.
The chairperson of NEPA, Mr. Sam Sarr highlighted that newspaper publication in The Gambia plays a significant role and they are the forefront in disseminating news.
He said the major role of the media is to hold the government accountable to the people and the role is significant – that it is expressed in the Section 207 of the Gambian Constitution, which indicates that the media is given the responsibility to hold the government of The Gambia accountable to the people.
“The media and the government are not enemies; each of us is just playing its role. Every democratic government is interested in serving the people and expanding democratic values.”
He said the newspapers are accessible to the public to enable them have information and knowledge.
The deputy permanent secretary at the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, Ebrima Darboe, applauded the newspaper publishers and the journalists for their great contribution in nation building.
He urged the publishers to nurture the front page journalists and also urges journalists to report in a professional way without bias.