#Editorial

What happens to media covid-19 fund?

Oct 1, 2020, 12:24 PM

It was in July when lawmakers unanimously approved a D15 million support package for the Gambia media amid coronavirus pandemic.

This comes after lawmakers acknowledged the crucial role media is playing in updating and informing the populace especially during these trying moments.

Even though what some lawmakers suggested was not approved, but this D15m media support would help sort out some challenges in the news rooms. The fund is meant for Gambian media in generally.

The fund, according to information gathered, is meant for recurrent expenditures, ie payment of salaries, wages and other production needs.

We all k now the crucial role media is playing especially during the Covid-19 pandemic in updating and sensitising the public about safety measures. We therefore, salute our dedicated comrades, who struggled day-in-day out to ensure that the populace are provided not only timely information, but accurate sand factual reports.

Going forward, after the announcement of this Covid-19 media package, a committee was formed to devise how to go about the disbursement process.

Now, a policy already being developed to guide the administration and disbursement of funds, for accountability and transparency, but still the fund is not forthcoming when staff salaries and wages need to be paid at various media houses. But what is amazing is the fact that after all that, nothing is said about the money, when there are other pressing issues in the various news rooms to sort out.

We all know what Covid-19 brought along. Even businesses in the remotest part of Gambia are feeling the pinch, much more private entities that depend solely on their daily sales. The challenges facing the Gambia media especially the print are enormous. From drastic drops in sales to high cost of production materials, these among other issues, are just some synopsis what The Gambia media are going through.

This at some point has greatly affected our daily operation even though we want to keep the population updated with current affairs news and happenings.

We therefore call on the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure to expedite the disbursement process so that what the fund really translate into what it is meant for. The ministry should remember the plight of the target beneficiaries (media workers) who are not spared when it comes to the economic aspects.

We believe they should take a cue from our neighbouring countries like Senegal in timely disbursement of the fund without a delay.

"Trust funds can never be a substitute for a fund of trust."

Edwin Louis Cole

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