The Gambia Press Union under the leadership of Sheriff Bojang jr, has compromised independent journalism in its selfish quest to patronize a serving member of the country’s Executive branch. The recent award conferred on Gambia’s Justice Minister Abubacarr Marie Tambadou, is an affront to independent journalism and ethical values. The GPU under Bojang is a total failure and a mockery to the profession we held with high esteem. The GPU has sold its soul to the Executive branch of government. It can’t no longer claim independence–given what has transpired this past weekend. Journalism at its lowest ebb in The Gambia. Shame on the new GPU Executive.
If it was considered wrong for the press to fraternize and extend awards to serving members of Jammeh’s cabinet, we do not know why it should be okay under the new dispensation. The media is the fourth estate in any given democratic dispensation. Its independence should be jealously safeguarded. And the GPU has woefully failed in safeguarding the independence of the media.
The journalistic distance and firewall that should be maintained between the independent press and Executive has been violated by the GPU. We are not aware of any journalist body in Africa, more so, around the world, that has ever conferred an award to a serving member of the Executive. GPU Gambia has done it.
There is a danger and conflict of interest associated with the GPU conferring what it called “a heroic award” to Justice Minister Tambadou. Under the circumstances, the GPU has sold its soul to the very government branch that it is expected to hold accountable.
The press should use its editorial pages to evaluate the government performance and shortcomings—give criticism where it is necessary, and equally give credit where it is needed. What the GPU has done this past weekend is unheard of. The journalist body should be called out for its blatant unprofessionalism.
Justice Minister Baa Tambadou is a good man, but in our view, it is unethical for the GPU to confer him with such an award. There are more deserving people, outside the government, who should be awarded than a government Minister.
The current GPU Executive stand to be accused of killing independent journalism in view of their reckless and unprofessional conduct. Unless, they have something to hide, any journalist body worthy of its salt, shouldn’t have engage in such an immoral conduct.
Justice Minister Baa Tambadou has been compromised to some extent—given the cumbersome task associated with his job. We shouldn’t pretend that corruption only exists in government. There is also corruption in the media.
Let say that allegations of corruption emerge at the GPU level during Tambadou’s tenure as Justice Minister, how can Tambadou effectively conduct an impartial investigation into the matter. It is ethically wrong for the media to fraternize with the Executive. We rest our case.