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In the Truth We Trust!

Aug 31, 2009, 4:34 AM

Since that Black Thursday (6 August 2009) when the six journalists were convicted and sentenced, there has been an avalanche of petitions to the President of the Republic of The Gambia, urging him to pardon and set free the six jailed journalists. The European Union, the Women's Movement in The Gambia, the Solidarity for African Women's Rights, the Young Women Christian Association, the West African Network for Peace-building (WANEP) -The Gambia, have all urged the Gambian leader to show clemency by exercising his prerogative of mercy in releasing Pap Saine, Sam Sarr, Ebrima Sawaneh, Pa Modou Faal, Sarata Jabbi-Dibba and Bai Emil Touray who were sentenced each to a two-year jail term.

We are touched by this show of solidarity. It shows that the journalists are not abandoned in their trying moment, just as it indicates that there is a yearning for free expression as the cornerstone of a democratic society. It has also bolstered our zeal and resolve to protect and preserve the soul of journalism, reporting the news without bias - ill will, favour or fear. This is the essence of journalism of purpose, a journalism on which a rights-based society thrives.

As agonized as we are by the plight of our six colleagues, we still anxiously await the acquittal of the journalists, and their rejoining the media fraternity, and contributing to public awareness through information dissemination. In that connection, we have firm faith and hope that this would be made possible either by the court process or the President's positive response to public appeals made to him. Whichever the eventuality, these six would be happily re-united to their families and their colleagues in the media. Meanwhile we have to keep the faith in the role of journalism in the society, and the right of the public to access information, and open to different shades of opinion and points of view.  We wish the six journalists a speedy acquittal or release.

"Courage is the price that life exacts for granting peace."

Amelia Earhart