Nov 23, 2009, 6:26 PM
On the ninth anniversary of the gruesome murder of a beloved friend and colleague, Deyda Hydara, heads of The Gambia’s various media houses and colleagues in the media have expressed concern about the slow pace of developments regarding the matter, and urged that more should be done to bring the culprit(s) to book.
Born on 9 June 1946 at Dobson Street in Banjul, Deyda Hydara was gunned down by unknown assassins on the night of the thirteenth anniversary of The Point newspaper.
Below we reproduce the statements by various media chiefs on the occasion of the anniversary:
Madi Ceesay, Publisher Daily News Newspaper
My own humble opinion is that justice is still not yet done in the Deyda Hydara killing. He is like any other citizen of this country and a good citizen for that matter.
He has contributed immensely to the development of The Gambia from the days of Radio Syd to the founding of The Point newspaper.
One of the few things that one can recount physically as a result of his good work is the refurbishment of the then Campama and the Old Jeshwang cemetery. There are many other things that he had done through his work as a journalist.
For such a person to be killed just like that, nine years ago, and nothing has come out of it still now cannot really be imagined by any human being.
I am calling on the Government of The Gambia to do what is expected of them as the people’s representative, to open a Commission of Enquiry into this case so that those responsible can be brought to book.
Until that is done, Deyda Hydara’s spirit will hunt the perpetrators until they also die.
Pap Saine, Co-publisher and Managing Director of The Point
Today marks the ninth anniversary of the assassination of the late Deyda Hydara on 16th December 2004. It is very sad that up to date, nothing has been done. We appeal once again to the authorities to make everything possible to re-open investigations into his assassination. Deyda Hydara was a great citizen, a great man who had contributed a lot to the development of the media.
Hydara was a role model; he had achieved and contributed a lot towards the socio-economic development of this country, because I can fully remember that we were associated with a social club, where we used to raise funds to assist hospitals, among others.
On the occasion of the ninth anniversary of his murder, I am again appealing once again to the authorities to investigate his case and bring the perpetrators to justice, as this will help a great deal in boosting the image of this country. Deyda Hydara was a man who the young and upcoming journalists should take as a role model, because he had sacrificed his life for freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
I will also commend my staff for their hard work, patience, commitment and dedication to the job in making sure that the paper survives. Though it is not an easy task, but we thank God that we are recognized even at the international level. Today, The Point is the only Newspaper in The Gambia that has won two international awards (2006 in Germany and 2010 in Australia.)
We are a respected newspaper, a paper which promotes divergent views and I can say that is why, up to now, we are the leaders in the market because such is what is needed for the promotion of democracy and good governance.
The Point newspaper is also the only paper today in The Gambia that is bilingual, publishing in both English and French, all geared towards satisfying our readers.
I would also like to seize this opportunity to thank my management and co-partner, our subscribers, advertisers, our readers and all those who in one way or the other contributed to the success of the paper.
I once again thank you all the staff, despite all the constraints you sacrifice to make sure the needs of the public is satisfied, because we are here to promote freedom and democracy.
Today also marks the 22nd anniversary of The Point Newspaper, which was founded on 16th December 1991 by myself together with the late Deyda Hydara and the late Baboucarr Gaye.
I would like to use this opportunity to call on the Government to see us as partners in development and not as enemies. I would like to appeal to Government to re-open The Daily News and Standard Newspapers as well as Teranga FM, which were all closed.
Sam Sarr, Managing Editor Foroyaa
Some are forgotten when they die after having brought grief to a community, a nation or the world at large because of the pain and suffering they have inflicted on the people.
The death of Deyda is totally different. The brutal murder of a man who stood for freedom of expression was not taken lightly by concerned Gambians and the media fraternity around the world. The death of a person fighting for a just cause can never be brushed aside. It will resonate in the hearts and minds of all those who have interest in justice.
Deyda stood for freedom of expression and wrote what he believed in despite all pressure, which won him the wrath of the enemies of freedom of expression and the admiration of the lovers of peace and justice.
His spirit shall continue to remain in the hearts and minds of not only the media fraternity, but all those who love justice as well. But it will continue to haunt those with blood-stained hands, who do not have the guts to come out openly and admit their crimes.
Nine years have gone, yet the family and loved ones are still crying for justice. No trial, no arrest, not even a suspect mentioned. It may be a convenient way of handling a high profile murder case by the government, but it is disheartening to the family and loved ones who for nine years have to ask themselves daily - who killed him and why did they kill him?
What progress has been made on the investigation? What has the government done to console them? Have they gone the extra mile, have they left no stone unturned in getting to the truth? Have they been giving progress reports on steps taken so far and what has been achieved? The government has to prove that it is interested in seeing that justice is done in this case through word and deed.
Needless to say, freedom of expression which Deyda stood for is still struggling to assert itself in The Gambia. All sorts of laws inimical to freedom of expression have been passed leading to self censorship, media houses such as Taranga FM, Daily News and The Standard have been closed without court order and without explanation.
President Jammeh has to change his ways. He has to learn from Nelson Mandela indeed. I wish to remind him that when charicatured by the media, Mandela simply said “that is how they see me”.
Musa S. Sheriff editor in chief The Voice
The death of Point newspaper’s co-founder and editor-in-chief Deyda Hydara needs to be fresh in our minds as journalists, because after nine years still the gunmen who shot him are still on the not loose, and not brought to justice.
We are now commemorating another anniversary, while the question of who killed him remained unanswered. The members of the media fraternity and the family are still waiting to know who killed this man.
From Monday December 16, we need consider new approaches as journalists to dig deeper to get to the truth about the killing of a noble professional. The investigation of death of Deyda Hydara is a task for all media practitioners in and outside the country.
Since his killing by the unknown assassins on December 16, 2004, Deyda Hydara’s case remained swept under the carpet, without thorough investigation and a clear explanation from the state.
His children have filed suit against the state at the ECOWAS court in Abuja Nigeria for the assassination of their beloved father. The case is yet to be heard, and the state whose mandate is to protect its citizens remains mute, expect the head of state’s previous remark that: Deyda Hydara should be asked in his grave - who killed him?