May 26, 2009, 5:27 AM
The recently appointed U.S. Ambassador to The Gambia really is every bit the diplomat. In his absorbing interview with Ebrima Sawaneh, News Editor of The Point, he clearly sets out his stall and future plans but neatly side steps the question on freedom of the press and freedom of expression.
The question read; "Your country is viewed by many as a champion of freedom of expression and a free press. How would you gauge The Gambia?"
response Mr. Wells replied, "Freedom of expression is really a key part of
championing democracy and as I think in any case it is always a work in
progress." This is a perfectly straightforward, factual answer, but it is not
really a full comment on the issue of press freedom in The Gambia. We are all
aware of the issues facing the press in this country. To describe press freedom
in The Gambia as a work in progress is diplomatic in the extreme. Perhaps a
better question would have been, "Would the American people tolerate the
restrictions which are put on the press in The Gambia to be applied to the
It is clear that the situation would not be tolerated for a moment.
Of course we are not suggesting that the situation in the
"The world must be made safe for democracy."