#Article (Archive)

Freedom Newspaper - A Case of Uncertain Direction

Jul 1, 2008, 7:23 AM

After reading the recent Freedom Newspaper Editorials, which are fraught with venom not only for the perceived conduct of the Managing Editor of The Point but also for The Point Newspaper as an independent medium, our first reflex was to respond in like manner to the rank gibberish of Pa Nderry Mbye. But our better nature stilled us to be phlegmatic enough not to dignify both the disgruntled simpleton and his trash with a reply.

On second thoughts however we decided, much against our better judgement, to give a fitting response to the points raised by Pa Nderry, not so much because we credit the comments with any relevance as because we feel obliged to dispel evident misconception and confused perspective about the ideal social posture of a journalist as our friend Pa Nderry would have readers believe. Among the many things that he mentioned in so conceited a manner, perhaps Pa did himself the greatest dishonour by implying that an independent journalist should not be a social being by consorting with public officials even if such relationships can be traced back to a period when neither the journalist nor a given public official could tell the present shape of statuses. Is an independent journalist then supposed to be a reclusive enigma who should be weighed down by suspicion whenever he/she is not within the circles of his profession? We leave that to the readers to judge.

What is more, Pa has the effrontery to caption his apology for an Editorial with "Bad Journalism at The Point Newspaper!!!", seeking, with vengeance, to sully the hard-earned reputable image of a paper which refused to be associated with not only his irresponsibly sadistic tendencies but also his reprehensible designs meant to advance his narrow selfish interests. But then perhaps Pa has been deluded by the sudden recognition offered by the existence of Cyberspace and Cyber-journalism for people of his type to post anything that can be doodled, no matter the relevance or quality. What we will advise our friend and former reporter to do is to get the right brains to be editing his paper for him for the sake of his prospective readers who deserve more than it is presently in his capacity to give. As it is, all Gambians of refined literary education who have had the misfortune to visit the Freedom Newspaper website cringe at the kind of material being churned out. Makes no difference if one is reading a story or Editorial as far as Freedom is the site!!

As Merciful Heavens will have it, there is solace as far as literary quality is concerned when one reads other Gambian-edited online papers like Senegambianews.com and Thegambiaecho.com.

In our view and that of all seasoned journalists, a good newspaper is one that is balanced in the way it reports or covers events, without prejudice to any one. If that makes The Point a bad paper or bad journalists, so be it. I am not sure of where you got your facts but I never visited Dida Halake any time since his arrest.

While we are humbled by the recognition from our respectable readers the world over, up to 70,000 of whom visit our site daily, we pride ourselves on being the first Gambian newspaper to win an International Freedom Award in December 2006 in Germany- The John Philipp Palm Preis. As a paper we resist the temptation to be biased in our reporting to the extent of tarnishing the image of people in contravention of the laws governing the press.

"The wisdom of not throwing stones when one lives in a glass house is as relevant today as ever".