#Article (Archive)

One More Thing

Mar 25, 2008, 5:36 AM

So Ms Fatim Badjie is now the new Secretary of State for Communication, Information and Technology - welcome! We also welcome her new Foreign Affairs counterpart - Dr Omar Touray. We think that these are the two most sensitive Cabinet posts at the moment. Why? Because with the Gambia's image being assailed in the international media, government needs some of the most astute minds in the country to beat off the unrelenting assault.Whether Ms Badjie and Dr Touray are up to the task remains to be seen.

Both Departments of State have to work closely together to formulate a strategy to re-brand our beloved country because our reputation as the haven of peace in Africa is now under attack in the international media. And because the Gambia depends mainly on tourism for our foreign exchange, we have to be mindful of how we are seen in the international arena.

But then again, any public relations activity that is based on falsehood collapses like a pack of cards. The truth always prevails.

Both Secretaries of State have to find a way to deal once and for all with the vexed issue of the alleged Brufut killings. It looks as though that until and unless the issue is handled to the satisfaction of our Ghanaian brothers and sisters, it will continue to haunt us. With all the nasty media attention it draws, it is time it was finalised diplomatically. This is a challenge for both Secretaries of State.

We urge the new Secretary of State for Communication, Information and Technology to see journalists as partners in development, not as enemies. It is for this reason that we implore her to create the enabling environment for journalists to work without fear or intimidation. This she can do by assisting the independent media to have access to information.

She can also work for the repeal of the Criminal Amendment Act 2004 and the Newspaper Registration Act 2004. Both laws hamper our practice as journalists.

We likewise appeal to the new Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs to work even harder on our bilateral relations with Senegal.Both heads of state were supposed to have met last November for the bilateral cooperation. But up until now that meeting is yet to take place. Since The Gambia and Senegal are condemned to live together, we all owe it to ourselves to work for a better Senegambia.