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Focus on the Special Issue of The Point News

Dec 19, 2008, 7:59 AM | Article By: Bijou Peters

The publication of the special issue of The Point Newspaper December 16 was interesting and impressive and readers were pleased to read the various comments from journalists relating to the gruesome murder of Deyda Hydara, four years ago.

The Point Newspaper recognised the 4th anniversary of the tradegy which befell the newspaper and the country on the whole on December 16, 2004. Four years ago journalists in The Gambia and throughout the world were shattered, devastated and outraged by the cold-blooded murder of Deyda Hydara, a veteran journalist and co-proprietor of The Point Newspaper on December 16, the very day of the anniversary of the inauguration of Point which was being celebrated.

It was a gruesome murder of one of our dedicated, courageous and accomplished journalist of the country, it was incongruous that this crime occured on the day that The Point's staff were jublilating as they celebrated the 13 anniversary of the inauguration of this news paper. It was a tragic and diabolic incident in thelives of Gambian journalists as the sad news spread around town and the question that was on the lips of journalists and the public in general was why was Deyda murdered and by whom? That was four years ago and on this 4th anniversary of the murder we are asking the same questions, as we are nowhere near discovering the answers to these pertinent questions. At that time the security officers reported that the investigations would contiue and no stone would be left unturned to apprehend the perpetrator or perpretators such crimes against humanity and to bring them to justice.

It is now December 16, 2008 and we appear to be no way near to the truth of discovering the culprits of this crime, nor are we aware of what serious investigations have been undertaken by the security officers to haunt down these criminals and bring them to justice. A murder is an outrageous crime and every murder must be apprehended.

It is a dreadful and appalling situation that Deyda's murderers are still at large and probably living normal liveswithin the society while they have deprived a family of their loved one, The Gambia of an illustrious, experienced and competent journalist, as he performed his duties of a journalist. Journalists are essential members of the society engaged in informing, educating and entertaining the public. Their function is crucial in the development process of any country and they are necessary partners in development. Why then should they be targeted and brutally eliminated as they carry out their normal and useful duties to the public?

Every country must endeavour to establish a viable press in its development process. Before 1992 the Gambia was lagging behind in the affairs of journalism, we had no viable press and The Gambia was labeled a non-reading public. Nigeria, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Liberia and other states in the sub-region had all forged ahead and established media houses in their various countries. In 1992 Deyda Hydara and his Co-proprietor Pap Saine took on the challenged and inaugurated The Point Newspaper on The 16th December 1991, in spite of some constraints because running a media house is an expensive and arduous task. They continue undaunted by the difficulties they had to contend with. The unexpected murder of Deyda was in immense blow to fellow journalists and staff of the newspaper who were obviously gripped with extreme fear and wondered who the next victim to such a hideous crime would be. Journalists wondered whether the staff would ever want to continue working at The Point office, especially the young member of staff. But as time went by Pap Saine summed up courage even though the loss of such a committed, experience and competent co-worker as Deyda Hydara had a detrimental effect on his performance for a long time and he must have wondered whether he could continue producing the Point alone.

We commend and applaud Pap Saine and all the loyal and dedicated staff who were prepared to work tirelessly and help the publication of the newspaper to continue and progress. In these four years.

The standard of the Point has improved substantially. We wish the entire staff and Pap Saine well and we look forward to further improvements as the years roll by. Journalists are heartened that the government appears to have recognised the value of journalists because in recent months journalists have been invited to attend various workshops organised to help them improve on reporting qualities and other journalistic functions. Journalists are partners in the development processof the country, we are not enemies of the state because we attempt to publish truths and to inform the public of accurences in the country from day to day. We pray that the Point will continue the good work without fear of favour.