The Gambia joined the rest of the world to celebrate World Press Freedom Day
2017, female journalists present at the celebration organised by the Gambia
Press Union, have called on media chiefs to stop exploiting them by not paying
or entertaining the untimely payment of salaries.
They also called for better working conditions and a salary increment as young Journalists are the movers and shakers of media houses in the country.
The theme for this year’s celebration is “Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies.”
Kumba Leigh, who works for the Gambia Daily Newspaper, said journalists face a series of obstacles in their media houses.
“In my case, it is very challenging and I have to adjust myself to meet the various requirements,” she said.
She said at her media house she is faced with many challenges and she has to go through series of struggles; sometimes using her own financial resources to get the job done.
She said if one wants to be a good journalist you have to be prepared to work hard in order to tackle the challenges ahead.
The media chiefs should help with capacity-building for their reporters, she said, adding that the exploitation has to stop and journalists need to have better living conditions.
She said the government and the ministry of information should start reforming draconian media laws as soon as possible.
Aja Musu Bah, working for Foroyaa Newspaper, said this is the time journalists need to focus, collaborate and have mutual understanding.
In order for the work to be easier they have to be one, she said, adding that female Journalists need to be heard. In order for that to happen, they need to speak up and raise their concerns, she added.
She believes that women journalists are talented.
Rose Zahra Gomez from the Point Newspaper said this was the time she attended World Press Freedom Day.
She was excited to be part of such an important occasion in the lives of journalists, adding that the press is very important as it has contributed immensely to the change that Gambians are enjoying today.
“It is important for the world and Gambians to know that the working condition of journalists is very poor,” she said.
“The way journalists are treated by the media chiefs when it comes to salary payment is very poor,” she added.
“The media chiefs should change the way they treat journalists because it is the reporters that do the job,” she stated.
Fatou Sowe from the Daily Observer Newspaper said as the media fraternity witnessed another year of World Press Freedom Day, they should all reflect on the importance of the press in a democratic society.
She said press freedom is very important to them as journalists as they used the day to take stock of the achievements and challenges.
The day also helps them to meet with colleagues and socialise with them since they hardly have time for each other.
“I want to call on the media chiefs to at least minimise the exploitation of journalists in their various media house,” she said.
She added “gone are the days when people believe that when you enter journalism you should not think of money”.
“It is true that it is a noble profession but it is equally important for a young person to have some kind of financial benefits. I implore them to try to bring incentives that will encourage journalists to practice the profession in better working conditions,” she said.
The World Press Freedom march past from Traffic Lights to the Ministry of Information was a platform for both male and female journalists who chanted at the top of their voices saying they want a better working conditions, salary increments, payment on time and no exploitation of young journalists by the media chiefs.