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Cordial Government-Media Relations

Mar 17, 2011, 12:15 PM

We sincerely welcome the move taken by President Yahya Jammeh to hold a meeting with members of the press, in particular the independent press. Such an initiative would, no doubt, boost the relationship between Government and the independent press.

We also commend media chiefs and editors for attending the meeting, not because they want to become stooges of the government, but to see a better Gambia were everybody is able to play his or her role.

Yesterday’s meeting at State House is unprecedented, and we salute the organisers for the initiative.

We strongly believe that there is an absolute necessity for dialogue between government and the independent press.

Such forums will also give the independent journalists and the government the opportunity to clear any doubts, and to overcome mistrust.

The government of The Gambia is the Government of all Gambians, no matter what.

But, as Gambians, people could have reservations about the country’s administration, and this must be well understood.

In fact, to oppose certain policies and programmes of the government does not make you an enemy of the government.

We all owe it to the Gambian people to make government accountable to the citizens.

Equally, the media must be allowed to do its work independently, without fear or favour.

We are fully aware that factual and balance reporting shall always be the cornerstone of any serious press.

As journalists, we owe it to all Gambians and non-Gambians alike to inform them of things happening in this country which have a direct bearing on their lives.

We urge all government officials to open up their doors to journalists, since President Jammeh made it clear that his government does not have any law stopping officials from talking to the press.

We also called on the government to appoint an official spokesperson in order to establish efficient channels to reach the media, and so as to effectively get their message across.

When the relationship works well, both the media and the government would gain. When it does not work well, both have something to lose. It’s better to have a win-win arrangement.

“The free press is the mother of all our liberties and of our progress under liberty”

Adlai E. Stevenson