Jan 20, 2009, 5:31 AM
It was gratifying for every Gambian living at home and abroad and for people residing in The Gambia when President Yahya Jammeh on Monday launched GRTS Satellite Broadcasting, the first time in the annals of the history of The Gambia. Among the many benefits of the new initiative is that it will boost the country's trade and investment opportunities around the world. It is for this reason that the Jammeh government spent a whopping 9.5 millions dollars on this project for both the radio and television stations. It should be commended for this symbol of national accomplishment and pride.
The satellite on its own will not do the job; it has to manned and maintained by people. It is for this reason that the staff of GRTS should be motivated in terms of training, good salary, clothing allowances, good equipment and transport to boost their morale.
In return for such incentives, the staff of the national broadcaster should spare no effort to take care of the expensive equipment for posterity.
As GRTS now goes satellite, it should promote divergent views, cover all political parties when they have meetings, and press conferences, as such an outlook will show to the world that our democracy is mature.
The ball is now in the court of GRTS staff, particularly the newscasters, to dress well and perform professionally, as the entire world is now watching them. The same applies to the reporters. There should be more focus on human interest stories by covering the activities of the provinces regularly, besides creating more entertainment programmes. Importantly, GRTS must also avoid unnecessary repetition of programmes. All in all, GRTS should now perform even more the media's traditional role of educating, informing and entertaining the public on issues relevant to their lives. They should also create vox pox to know their shortcomings and where they can improve.
Other areas they should work hard at is the efficient proofreading texts to avoid embarrassing mistakes being beamed to the entire world.
Recruitment of the staff should also be based on merit - that is, only those who have the minimum qualification should be employed. Sentiment or political affiliation should be avoided. Once again we congratulate the Director General, management and staff of the GRTS on the birth of this new national baby.
Percy Bysshe Shelley