Former Minister Regrets Defending Yahya Jammeh’s Internet Laws

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Former Information Minister Nana Grey Johnson has expressed regret for his role in helping Gambia’s ex-dictator to come up with Draconian internet laws destined for crushing dissent in the cyberspace. He described the move as the ‘lowest point’ in his life.
He made this remark during an interview with this medium, and which was held on the sidelines of the just concluded validation workshop on the code of conduct for media practitioners.
As a leading figure in Gambian media, Nana Grey Johnson made headlines in 2013 when he endorsed and spearheaded internet laws aimed at not only censoring dissenting views, but also charging contravention with heavy fines.
The Deen of the School Journalism and Digital Media at the University of The Gambia, said it was the erstwhile Justice Minister who engineered everything. He then added that he was put before things accomplished, and when he asked about the relevancy of the heavy fines, the Justice minister made it clear to him that the decision to policing the internet was a directive coming from the ‘big man.’
“When you have been called to duty, you are constantly expecting that the one who called you to national duty would create the enabling environment,” he remarked with tone of disappointment.
Nana Grey Johnson further stated with the way things were unfolding, he knew very that he will not last long in government, noting that he was relieved from his post after serving nine months.
When asked whether he thinks the manipulations he was subjected constitute an attack against his integrity, he responded in the affirmative.
“I could have resigned. That is the easy way out,” he pointed out while indicating that he was with the opinion that he could have made changes from within rather ‘screaming’ outside. “
As many people are asking why it took him too much time to set record, Nana Grey Johnson went on to say that there is a time for everything under the sun.
Weighing in on the new trends in the media, the Chairman of the newly formed Media Council of The Gambia said journalists should assume their responsibility in society before claiming any rights.
“If you do not understand your own responsibility, you just claim for rights. The journalist must be aware of the values of the profession,” he said.
Written by Abdoulie John
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