columnBy Pateh Baldeh
As a follow up to the story published yesterday, Wednesday, 20 November 2012, under the caption "DOOR CLOSED TO MEDIA DURING COUNCIL MEETING", the Foroyaa sent a reporter to the Kanifing Municipal Council (KMC) to enquire from the Mayor why the media was not allowed to cover the proceedings as provided for in the 2002 Local Government Act .
The reporter was told that the Mayor was busy by his Secretary and was referred to the Senior Manager for Public Affairs and Human Resource of the Council Pa Khalifa Sanyang. Mr. Sanyang, reacting to the story published in the Foroyaa, said "in as much as the laws allow the public and the media to attend Council meetings, they reserve the right as an authority to conduct and discuss certain issues in house".
The Council spokesperson added "this does not mean we have anything to hide but there are ethics that govern the public service".
Mr. Sanyang insisted that he was misquoted by the Foroyaa reporter when it was stated that he said he did not know what the agenda of the emergency meeting was. According to him, what he told him was that it would be inappropriate at the time of their interview to relay to the public what the agenda item was.
He said there was no need for Foroyaa to seek audience with the Mayor for clarification as what he (Sanyang) said was very clear. He said the KMC has a policy of dealing with the media openly which he said should be appreciated by the independent media.
Asked when they will conduct the next Council meeting, the KMC senior manager for Public Affairs and Human Resource said the media will be duly informed when a meeting is taking place again.
Foroyaa wanted to find out whether the meeting was a general one or a committee meeting and ascertain whether the Mayor would condone any violation of the Local Government Act which makes it mandatory for council meetings to be held in public. Only Committee meetings could be held in house.