Press Conferences in The Gambia
After watching Fatoumata Jawara’s press conference, I have come to the conclusion that I don’t know or I have very little understanding of what a press conference is, if what we saw in Tallinding is indeed a press conference. A press conference that is characterized by praise singing, clapping frenzy, show of solidarity, and political jamboree ought to be renamed something else and not a press conference unless I am just quibbling over semantics. What I saw there could be described as an amalgamation of a press conference, a political rally, a political jamboree, and an expression of solidarity.
The members of the press ought to ask themselves if that was a press conference cuz I believe they converged in Tallinding believing that they were going to a press conference where they will be availed the opportunity to ask relevant questions and get clarification on the issue or issues being discussed. Although they may have little to no control over what the organizers and sycophants of the event will do or say, but they must not allow a press conference to be reduced to a praise singing ceremony and political jamboree. I wonder if it is about time the Gambia Press Union educate their members as well as the political parties on what a press conference is before this already embarrassing situation exacerbates. I have always said that the GPU has a monumental task of restoring sanity in this noble profession because it is crystal clear that in our new dispensation, having a camera, a microphone and a platform are enough to make one a journalist despite having little to no training. No wonder why the quality of the questions asked by some members of the press is substandard, and some of them exhibit a lack of understanding of issues or very little critical reasoning skills. However, we have several fine journalists who could help elevate this profession to acceptable standards thereby mitigating if not eliminating the mediocrity that is rife in today’s Gambian media. We can undoubtedly do better in this area cuz we have the human resources.
Meanwhile, we condemn in the strongest possible terms the continuous assault on journalists, and ask the government to bring the perpetrators to book to deter would-be perpetrators from committing this crime. This would also send a clear message to all and sundry that the cowardly act of mindless thuggery and tortures meted our to journalists in the Babili era has come to an immediate cessation and will no longer to tolerated in the New Gambia. Our journalists continue to endure unwarranted assaults and attacks while operating in an environment that is far from conducive if not hostile, making this profession a perilous one. This needs to be addressed swiftly because an aversion to journalism is a serious threat to our democracy. To our brothers and sisters in the media fraternity, I say ‘saluto, saluto, saluto!’
Join The Conversation