Debates over Salif Sadio , MFDC Rebel Leader frequent media access in the Gambia
It is has been observed that some media houses in the Gambia are in the habit of rendering media access to MFDC rebel leader Salif Sadio who has been agitating for self-independence for the past four decade at the Senegalese region of Casamance in the southern part of the Gambia to spew out his propaganda war.
In the past,the Gambia government under previous regime of Yahya Jammeh has been alleged of aiding the MFDC rebels in the Casamance region. However, since 2016 democratic turn over in the Gambia Barrow’s government has been seen as strong allied of president Macky Saal adminstration in Senegal.
This bilateral cooperation is evidence in the “hot pursuit” bilateral security agreement and amongst others to consult and collaborate in the interest of both countries. Although,the mode of operation in implementing this hot pursuit agreement have been contested by many Gambians attributing some inherent problems such as insufficient coordination and inadequate communication network between military forces of the both countries.
Insurgency is a global phenomena underpin by clandestine networks activities that usually led to insecurity in local communities around our porous borders. Casamance rebellion is not an exception in the changing geopolitical world that countries depend on each other in terms of security. However, the role and importance of media cannot be overemphasized but need to be mindful in the reporting and dealing with sensitive matters like insurgency in a friendly neighboring country. In addition, media freedom is symbolic in the sense that, it ensure the basic values of a democratic society. Yet, due to competition and ever present rivalry in who will be first to make headline on a particular topical issue is concerning. In that line, they could end up been a propaganda war tool at the detriment of the other state in the following ways;
1. They could convey the propaganda actions that could create fear within the targeted society. This could emboldened them
2. It could mobilised wider support for their cause among the vulnerable population.
3. They could frustrate and disrupt the ongoing security response in the conflict zone.
4 . They could incite and inspire supporters, sympathisers as well as increase the number of potential recruits into rebellion.
It could be recalled that, the Senegalese military has embarked on a military operation on February 3 around Zinganchor region resulting to the seizure of MFDC rebel base in Casamance. The region has been experiencing insecurity and threat to the the livilihood as well as national development. The rebel factions have been alleged of banditry and smuggling drugs to fund their surreptitious activities.
In this light, it would be unhelpful for a media fraternity of a friendly nation to give unhindered media access to a rebel factions to convey their political propaganda especially at the time of ongoing unilateral cease fire in the volatile region of Casamance.