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Media chiefs call for investigation of Deyda’s murder

Dec 14, 2012, 9:08 AM | Article By: Yusuf Ceesay, Abdou Rahman Sallah & Abdoulie Nyockeh

Sunday 16th December 2012 will mark the 8th anniversary of the murder of Deyda Hydara, co-publisher and managing editor of The Point newspaper.

In the countdown to the event, the media chiefs in the country have again called on the authorities to reopen the investigation into the death of their former colleague.

Daily News Publisher

Mr Madi Ceesay, publisher and managing director of DailyNews newspaper, commenting on the anniversary, said: “The media fraternity is still asking the question: Who killed Deyda?” 

Mr Ceesay calls on the government to take a serious stance on the issue, urging them to re-open the investigation of his killing.

“If the government can reopen the investigation into his killing then the credit will go to them,” he said.

He stressed that if the question keeps remaining unanswered, it’s only going to continue dragging attention to The Gambia, and anyone connected in the country.

“We have seen instances where governments stand and reopened cases; for instance, a case in point is the former Mozambican president who was killed in 1982 in South Africa’ eastern part and this week South African police have reopened a new investigation into his death,” he added.

Mr Ceesay emphasized that the government should stand firm on the issue of the case of the fallen journalist.

“Eight years on, we are still worried as it could happen to anyone of us, and it’s time for The Gambia to also  work for change in order for the country to be on top, when it comes to press freedom,” he continued.

He expressed his sadness about the country’s media situation, citing the recent arrest of journalist Abdoulie John.

Mr. Ceesay also cited the arrest of journalists Baboucarr Ceesay and Abubacarr Saidykhan, as well as the closure of media houses such as Taranga FM, Daily News and The Standard newspapers, all in 2012.

The Point co-Publisher

Pap Saine, co-publisher of The Point, expressed sadness and sorrow about the unresolved murder of the late Deyda Hydara.

He called on the Gambian authorities to re-launch an investigation into the killing of Hydara.

Saine, said the late Deyda was a great man and a martyr of press freedom; thus calls for the culprits to be pursued and brought to justice.

Deyda Hydara, he said, will never be forgotten, and has left a legacy worthy of remembering.

“He has contributed a great deal to the socio-economic development of the country, and the development of the Gambian media. He was a role model to the young generation of journalists,” Saine added.

He used the occasion to reiterate the need for the investigation to be reopened, adding that such a move will give a big boost to the image of the country.

Commenting on the 21st anniversary of The Point newspaper, which also falls on December 16th, Mr Saine used the occasion to thank his staff for their dedication and commitment.

He also thanked the readers, the subscribers as well as the advertisers for making The Point their first choice, and for the partnership.

He advised young journalists to always be impartial, and to do their work without fear or favour.

Saine encouraged young reporters to nurture the culture of reading, and to always cross-check their facts before going to press.

Mr Saine reiterated that the government and the press are partners in development, and should not see each other as enemies.

The Standard Managing Editor

Sheriff Bojang, managing editor of The Standard newspaper, said the death of Deyda Hydara was a great loss for The Gambia. “He was a sterling character,” he said.

According to Mr Bojang, the late Deyda mentored a lot of people and impacted positively on the lives of many Gambians.

“It is so sad that eight years on nothing has been done about his death. Somebody perpetrated that crime as he cannot kill himself,” Bojang remarked.

He called on the authorities to do everything within their powers to bring his killers to book.

“I really miss him, and we prayed for his family and for his soul to rest in peace,” he said.

FOROYA Managing Editor

Reacting to the anniversary, Mr Sam Sarr, managing editor of Foroyaa newspaper, said the death of Deyda Hydra is closely associated with the freedom of the media in The Gambia.

“In commemorating the death of Deyda Hydra, we all wish to reflect on the state of media freedom in The Gambia. Deyda Hydra was murdered 8 years ago, and to date the state of freedom of the media has not changed.

Taranga FM, Daily News and The Standard newspapers were closed down without explanation or due process,” he lamented.

Mr Sarr added: “This means that what Deyda Hydra stood for, that is, freedom and a vibrant media, which led to his death, has not yet been achieved. Our constitution gives the media the responsibility to hold the government accountable to the people. This, of course, is not possible without a free media.”

According to him, the public media in accordance with the constitution should be made accessible to divergent views and dissenting opinions.

“There is a lot of talk about dialogue with the Executive to trash out issues that is of concern to the media, such as closure of media houses. However, this is possible if the executive open themselves to dialogue, and facilitate this by appointing a minister of Information,” he said.

TODAY Newspaper Managing Editor

“Let me just say about 8 years Deyda Hydara has gone. I don’t want to focus on his death, but his life and his legacy which is more important,” said Abdulhamid Adiamoh.

“I believe that the Gambia media is stronger today; I believe despite all challenges it is going through, I believe all these positive developments are part of efforts and sacrifices that Deyda Hydra made, while he was alive. We definitely remember him and, absolutely, there is no doubt in my own mind that if we are to write a list of the greatest heroes of this country, the list would not be complete without Deyda Hydra’s name.”

Managing Editor Voice Newspaper

“Eight years since the killing of Deyda, it is still a great loss to the Gambian media fraternity,” said Musa Sheriff.

The Voice newspaper managing editor noted that since he left, Hydara’s position is still vacant, and you can see the difference in the GPU.

“What we wait for is the proper investigation into how he was killed near a police barracks,” he said.

 “We need a credible and independent investigator to investigate the killing of Deyda, because such a great man cannot just be killed in a country of less than 2 million people,” he said.

Sheriff expressed his disappointment that for eight years now, The Gambia cannot find the culprits.

Mr Sheriff called on the Gambia Press Union, especially the present executive, to have in mind that what they are enjoying today, that foundation was laid by Deyda and others.

He challenged the Union to take the lead now in investigating the death of Deyda.

Musa Sheriff also calls on the Union to make use of their observer status of the Africa Center of Human and Peoples Rights to take the case there.

He added that the way in which the anniversary is celebrated is showing waning interest, while echoing that there is no call for the international body to push the government on the investigation of Hydara’s death.

“Eight years is not eight months or days, and nothing is still being done after Deyda’s death. One is killed and in eight years nothing is done; one is missing, some being charged and sentenced; so if we don’t act now, the next ten will be killed and five will be missing,” he further stated.

Sheriff finally commended the management of The Point and staff for keeping the paper alive to date.

The Publisher News and Report Magazine

Suwaibou Conateh said: “Well, Deyda’s case was unfortunate, and a great loss to the journalist fraternity in The Gambia.”

He commended Gambian journalists for their courage in observing the event continuously, for the eighth time this year.

“The rather unfortunate tragic incident remains unresolved, and as we enter the 8th anniversary, we still pray and hope that the culprits who carried out the crime of murder against an outstanding journalist in this country will be found, and brought to book in accordance with our laws,” said the veteran journalist.

He took the opportunity to once more express heartfelt condolences to the family and journalist colleagues, for the loss of a good friend and a model of the good journalist at work.

“This case, it must be noted, will not go away just like that; the longer it takes to deal with it satisfactorily, the more eager would remain friends, families and colleagues of late Deyda Hydara to get to the bottom of the whole problem,” he noted.

He added that the nature of the crime determines the continued interest in it, adding that the public must not allow such act of impunity to go on forever.

Mr Conateh advised journalists to keep the momentum, and have faith that justice will be done one day.