Pa Nderry Mbai: Gambia’s Media Hero!
This is an extra-ordinary award and needs a very short explanation.
- Pa Nderry Mbai worked as an under-study with the renowned Gambia journalism icon Deyda Hydara who was killed on December 16 2004 – because of his journalistic work.
- Pa Nderry Mbai sought asylum in the USA and started an online newspaper, Freedomnewspaper, that soon became a household name in The Gambia through Pa Mbai’s fearless coverage of everything Gambian – and most particular the corruption and other nefarious activities by President Jammeh and his officials. This at a time when Gambia-based local media carried headlines such as “Man Defiles Donkey in Kotu”!
- The Gambia-based media was totally muzzled by the Jammeh regime – and local journalists dared not report negatively on anything done by Jammeh, his friends and his officials (also called “managers”). So much so that the USA Ambassador (a Ms. White?) stated bluntly that “there are no journalists in The Gambia”.
- Jammeh was chased out of The Gambia in January 2017 by the West African intervention force (after he lost the December 2016 election and refused to leave office) and a “New Gambia” was born.
- During Spring 2017, Media Houses sprung up everywhere like roses in Spring – and for a brief moment it seemed that The Gambia would get media that would hold the country’s new democratically elected government and corrupt officials to account.
- Alas, it took only one journalistic report involving allegations of corruption against a government minister who then threatened to sue … and there died prematurely New Gambia’s Media Spring.
- Pa Nderry Mbai and his Freedomnewspaper were thus left standing as the ONLY Gambian Media outlet to which concerned Gambian citizens could turn to expose official corruption and misfeasance in public office.
And so, Pa Nderry Mbai, a one-man National Media Institution, receives the 2020 Media Freedom Day Award.
London teacher &
Ex-MD & Editor-in-Chief,
Editors note: The above award was conferred to Pa Nderry M’Bai by Mr. Dida Halake. It is an individual award. It doesn’t represent UNESCO or any media organization. Thanks Mr. Halake for the award. Much appreciated.