Mar 6, 2009, 4:40 AM
Press freedom is essential for the country’s development and growth. Press freedom and freedom of the press are a constitutional provision and should, therefore, be strictly upheld.
Press freedom can only be guaranteed if the legislative framework is put in place, but if the media continues to work under siege with bad media laws, then this is cause for concern.
Sadly, in this country most people fail to understand that without freedom of expression, there is no democracy.
That is why it is generally agreed that freedom of expression is not only meant for journalists and media workers, but is also a right for every citizen of the globe.
It is the common norm in The Gambia that, when you want to confirm certain stories, it takes you countless efforts and, in many cases, no one is willing to answer to what is in the public interest.
Many officials hide behind flimsy excuses so as not to give information to the media, such as not being allowed to talk to the press; confidential information; or national security issues, when in actual fact the information has nothing to do with all these.
Such officials do not even know that their actions are harming the public, and the country at large.
While a good number of officials prefer talking to the press when they are elevated, they never see us partners in the execution of our duties.
It is said that without information man gropes in the dark, and becomes incapable of making informed choices when competing options present themselves.
It is with great sadness, therefore, that we view situations where access to information is deliberately shut down, and the public unfairly deprived of it.
Therefore, it could be concluded that what the public is subjected to deprivation of their right to know, where the state fails to recognise, and effectively holds sway over, the rights and freedoms of the individual citizens to balanced information.
Without changing the bad media laws in the country, The Gambia is far from being called a country where press freedom is being upheld.
Let no one fool you!