#Article (Archive)

Welcome to the hot seats

Dec 27, 2012, 8:57 AM

Now they come, now they go, it all has the dynamics of abrogation. The more you look, the less you see. In recent times, the seat of the Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service just like various ministries, has seen various people come and go.

It was Ousman Jammeh, then Dr Njogu L. Bah and now it is Madi Jatta who is the acting Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service.

Please Sir! Accept our hearty congratulations on your appointment as acting Secretary General and Head of the Civil Service.

On the other hand, Dr Njogu Bah, who is no doubt in a familiar terrain, is now the new Minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure – Welcome to another hot seat!

His reassignment as new Minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure is, no doubt, timely because this ministry is one of the most sensitive cabinet posts and has been under the Office of the President for quite a long time.

As the mouthpiece of the government, the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure needs some of the most astute minds in the country to fend off any assault against the government, especially in the international media.

As we stated on these pages not long ago, with all the nasty media attention the country draws of recent, it is time this was ended. This is a challenge for the new minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure.

As he settles down in his new portfolio, we urge the new minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure to see journalists as partners in development, not as enemies.

We would like to implore him to create the enabling environment for journalists to work without fear or intimidation. This he can do by assisting the independent media to have access to information.

He 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 in this country.

As journalists, we are concerned about the environment in which we operate.

Even though journalists are generally perceived, in some quarters, as troublemakers, it is through our activities that the world gets to know what is happening, where, why and by whom.

Because the truth is sometimes difficult to swallow, those who at times engage in dubious deals brand us as troublemakers or even enemies.

To be sure, there would be chaos around the world without journalists, as people wouldn’t know what is happening next door. And what do we get in most instances for our efforts?

Arrests, arbitrary detention, closure of newspapers and broadcasting stations, harassment, torture and even assassinations!

The new Minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure should make working towards the reopening of The Independent newspaper, Citizen FM, Sud FM and now The Standard and The Daily News newspapers, as well as Taranga FM radio station, all of which remain closed, as his first priority.

The fact that all these media houses remain closed is no doubt, not a good image for the country.

The more newspapers we have in this country, the better because what one newspaper may suppress, another paper will blow up. In this way, the government and the general public know virtually everything that is going on in the public domain.

It is high time that government opens up to the independent media, and they sit together and trash out any misunderstanding between them, for the betterment of the country.

“Truth exists; only lies are invented.”

Georges Braque