Saikou Jammeh

(JollofNews) – The Secretary General of the Gambia’s Press Union (GPU), Saikou
Jammeh, has expressed optimism about the future of Gambian media as the new political dispensation is taking shape.

The past 12 months have been proven to be very exciting for media practitioners who continue to enjoy great moments of freedom punctuated by regular press conferences by the Presidency and other ministries.

“There is cause for optimism. The emerging media boom after the dictatorship is pointing towards an era of liberal and pluralistic
press,” Mr Jammeh said on Friday during the just concluded presser organised by The Association of None-Governmental Organisations (TANGO)

Journalists were the leading targets of the Jammeh regime. For over two decades, they were subjected to a full-scale crackdown mounted by the dictatorship, leading to the closure of various media houses, the
assassination of Omar Barrow and Deyda Hydara, an iconic figure of Gambian journalism and the ‘disappearance’ of Chief Ebrima Manneh. The  APRC regime defied all logics in imposing a systematic internet
filtering, blocking major news sites providing alternative news to Gambians.

Acknowledging the progress registered since Adama Barrow assumes power in January 2017, the  Press Union’s second-in-command said there have been slight improvements in terms of both of quality and quantity of the media sector.

“The Voice, a tri-weekly since its founding in 2008, has now joined three others on the list of daily newspapers,” GPU SG said while
deploring the shutting down of the Daily Observer, calling it a “setback in this group.”

He further stated that the number of commercial radio stations remains at 16 while nine community radio stations continue to operate.

“The monopoly of the State-owned broadcaster has ended with opening of
QTV. Broadcasting of national news is no longer the prerogative of national broadcaster. Private radio stations are fully engaged in current affairs, including review of daily newspapers in languages majority of the citizens understand,” he outlined.

He then revealed that ‘all indications’ are that the trend will continue as “more licenses are under review for newspaper, radio and
television outlets.”

Mr Jammeh reiterated his optimism, saying all these augur in the drive towards The Gambia we want.

Written by Abdoulie JOHN