16 years after he was slain, Deyda’s son remembers him as mentor

Dec 16, 2020, 1:32 PM | Article By: Adama Tine

“Since the demise of my father, we can see willingness of young people wanting to embrace the journalism profession,” Baba Hydara, the eldest son of late Deyda Hydara, former co-proprietor and managing editor of The Point Newspaper, said as today marks 16 years since he passed away.

Deyda Hydara was slain on 16 December 2004 by rogue elements ‘junglers’, the killing squad of the former president, Yahya Jammeh for his robust stance on press freedom and freedom of speech.

Coincidentally, the newspaper was established on this same date.

 “I am not going to say he is the reason but I’m sure he played a big role because I can recall how he mentored so many young journalists at the time and not only mentoring them, but also helping them build a career sometimes not only journalists but also helped people with their careers in other fields.”

Mr. Hydara, the current co-publisher of The Point Newspaper stated that the 16 December every year is now considered as one of the hardest days the Hydara Family goes through.

“It reminds the family of the tragedy that transpired 16 years ago.”

“Each of us is dealing with his demise in different ways. For me, it changed the cause of my life by making me concentrate more about fighting to bring justice to his assassins.”

Baba took the opportunity to urge the Hydara Family, from his mother to all his siblings to stay strong. “I know how hard this day means to the family and to the journalism field in the country,” he said.

He further talked about the journalism professionalism, saying that nowadays, anyone can come up with a degree in journalism, but argues that molding a journalist to be very good in his profession takes more than a diploma.

According to Baba, veterans like Deyda (his father), Dixon Colley, Swaebou Conateh, Nana Grey-Johnson, Ba Trawally, Pap Saine, Demba Jawo, Ngange Thomas, Sam Sarr and others paved the way so that journalism could be what it is today.

“So they should never take things for granted because these brave souls fought tooth and nail to make sure that journalism is respected in The Gambia.”

Talking about the occasion marking the 29th anniversary of The Point Newspaper, Baba said: “I am thanking all our loyal readers and advertisers who since the inception of this establishment have always been on our side and also our staffs both past and present who made the company what it is today and hoping to celebrate more anniversaries in the future.”

Mr. Hydara also talked about the constraints the Gambia media particularly the newspapers are facing, citing late payment of advertisements by advertisers as a very big challenge.

The Point clocks 29  

By Sanna Jallow 

The Point Newspaper, one of the leading and widely read newspapers in the country, is celebrating 29 years since its first publication hits newsstands. The paper till today has been widely acclaimed for its proactive stance towards issues affecting The Gambia media. Due to its firm stance on press freedom, the paper has won five international awards, thanks to its stance on the independence of the media.

Pap Saine, co-publisher of The point Newspaper, said the paper is the only paper in The Gambia which has won five international awards. 

Established on 16 December 1991, The Point was founded by Pap Saine, late Deyda Hydara and late Babucarr Gaye, who only served four months and then resigned.

"I want to seek this opportunity to appeal to the government of The Gambia for an immediate arrest and trial of those involved in the murder of late journalist, Deyda Hydara, who was assassinated on the 16 December 2004".

He mentioned that Cpt. Malick Jatta, Major Sanna Manjang and Sergeant Alieu Jeng were complicit in the murder of the late journalist, adding that Cpt. Jatta was first arrested, but now released while Major Sanna Manjang has fled the country to Guinea Bissau.

"We cannot forget Deyda Hydara as he was a fighter for press freedom and a representative of the voiceless in the media.”

Mr. Saine also said that the authorities should name a street or a school after Deyda for his commitment and his firm stance for national development and promotion of peace in the media.

“As we celebrate today's anniversary I would seek this opportunity to thank the staff and management for their commitment and dedication for making the paper in the higher standard to make us win five international awards in Germany 2006, Australia 2010, South Africa 2014, Zambia and the United States for press freedom.”

He explained that the paper has a wider audience as it publishes both in French and English.

Mr. Saine also thanked all advertisers and subscribers for their continued contribution towards the sustainability of the paper, saying managing a newspaper is not an easy task.

“We also appeal to the government to support the private media in terms of training and subventions to meet their challenges.”

Mr. Saine finally expressed gratitude to the Hydara Family, thanking them for a more peaceful and smooth partnership and friendship in this endeavour.