“Quack journalist”:

Alagi Yorro Jallow

My Gambia Press Union journalist friends, what do you say about the Code of Conduct of the Gambia’s threat to criminalize “quack” journalists who aren’t accredited. Not to say that the bill proposed by government will ever be passed in any National Assembly, our National Assembly members are special I tell you.

GPU if the estimate that out of the 300 journalists in the Gambia, 100 are dodgy, how are you going to enforce any standards by basing it on accreditation. And I must ask, what does accreditation involve? I know a lot of journalists who I respect and have a lot of time for. I also know many who are supposedly accredited but still dodgy. Hell, they can’t investigate and write stories on any subject better than some of your members. Some of my articles have been published, and many others even published without my permission – though in fairness, they were attributed to me. Yet, some of them have never seen the inside of any journalism school or join the GPU to benefit from training workshops, but they still make a very good living out of it.

While we’re on accreditation, it will be good for you all to say something about how Gambian journalism ended up in the Jaliba media zone. In print media and TV, the standards seen, the unprofessionalism, the shallow engagement by the supposed luminaries of the media is mind-boggling. For example. How do you get to the stage where instead of facilitating an impartial debate with your guests, you want to fight them and be opinionated? Supposedly, the fella is accredited. And what of some of the TV anchors who don’t even have a clue of the subject matter, enough at least to constructively challenge guests who are talking bullshit and lying to us? When some of these folks are on air, you can’t find a sofa quick enough for you to hide behind in embarrassment.

Personally, I think journalism as a profession should wake up and drag itself into the 21st Century. The doctrine of journalists as the curators of news was totally blown away by citizen journalism fueled by the internet. It’s the kind of lost cause music recording, and production giants started fighting when streaming services like Napster came on board. After all the huffing and puffing, they had to get in line with the internet. Hell, Apple and their iTunes services literally made some of these recording companies obsolete and only those who were prepared to adapt survived, but still operate in the digital world.

It will be great to get your thoughts on this what are you going to do with unaccredited journalists. Mamudu is unaccredited. He doesn’t intend to ever get accredited, and yet work as a freelance journalist. Mamudu intend to continue as a “citizen journalist”. One thing is for sure, he ain’t going to jail, hell no!

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