Gov’t reacts to RSF Press Freedom ranking

Apr 26, 2021, 11:00 AM

The 2020 Press Freedom Index of the France-based human rights watchdog, Reporters Sans Frontiers (RSF), has confirmed the significant gains The Gambia has so far recorded in advancing media freedoms. Of some 180 countries surveyed in 2020, The Gambia is ranked 85, which is a two-point improvement from 87 in 2020 – a credit The Gambia Government takes.

From the 55 African countries assessed, The Gambia is ranked 9 in West Africa and 10 in sub-Saharan Africa; a remarkable achievement for a nation that for two decades, trailed behind most countries.

“Convinced by the inherent power in information dissemination and access to information as crucial elements in a transparent, democratic state, the Barrow Government since assuming power, modified The Gambia media regulatory framework,” Office of the Government Spokesperson states in a press release in reaction to this development.

“The impact of this modification in terms of media pluralism is felt nationwide with the presence of over 33 radio stations, 6TV channels, 4 daily newspapers, 1 tri-weekly publication and numerous online media platforms that are actively stimulating public discourse towards consolidating our post-totalitarian democracy.”

“Over 30 journalists who were exiled for decades during the dictatorship from 1994-2016, have since returned home and contributing meaningfully in the New Democratic Dispensation.”

“The Gambia Government under the stewardship of President Adama Barrow continues to encourage responsible media freedom to restore The Gambia’s past glory of a fledgling democratic state with respect for human and people’s rights.”

Reacting to this, Pap Saine, the co-publisher of The Point Newspaper and also the RSF correspondent, appeals to government for timely payments of their dues owed to media houses.

“Since December, media houses have not been paid by government and this hampers their daily productions and salaries of their staff.”

“Draconian media laws should also be abolished,” he challenged the government.