Jan 13, 2009, 6:37 AM
As we approach 2010, our wish is for a better more cordial relationship between the Government and the private media. As stated by the media chiefs, our greatest wish is that all draconian media laws be abolished.
Since The Gambia is a signatory of Article 19 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights - which states that "everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression", journalists in the country should have access to information so as to be able to do their job of keeping the general public well-informed.
We are conscious of our duty to handle any sensitive information that could be a security risk properly, since we too have the best interest of this country at heart.
We commend the police for having a PRO always co-operative in confirming stories that the police are handling. There is an urgent need for Government to appoint a Spokesperson and Director of Press to make our job easy. Government should open its doors to the Press, since we are partners in development and not enemies. It will give a good boost to the image of the country to open a new chapter with the independent journalists. Without a vibrant press, there is no democracy. We should not live on rumours, but factual reliable information circulated by the Press.
We also appeal to Government to reduce taxation on printing materials such as newsprint, ink and printing plate, and to also consider giving a duty waiver to facilitate the importation of printing presses and other equipment, since we are also engaged in educating the public.
Also since we are participating in educating the mass, we feel that we should be exempt from the Education Levy.