The Point (Banjul)

Gambia: Welcome to Another Year

opinion

The year 2012 was, no doubt, an eventful year in various aspects of life in this country.

There have been both high and low marks, which both positively and negatively touched on the lives of many people in this country and beyond.

The New Year is now upon us. We have a ready-made opportunity, both as individuals and as a nation, to reflect on how we have behaved towards friends, family, colleagues and all we came across in the past year.

Monday was the day that marked the end of one year and the beginning of the next year.

In many cultures, the event is celebrated in some manner.

Indeed, in modern times, the celebration of New Year is a major activity worldwide. Many large-scale events are held in major cities around the world on New Year's Eve (December 31), accompanied by the largest fireworks.

It is also always considered as the time for fun and enjoyment. The day is usually marked, by most people, as a new beginning towards a life filled with hope and optimism. We remember all the good and bad things of the passing year on this day, and carry forward the positive experiences we have cherished.

If we have made enemies during the year, we must seek to make a truce with these people, and start afresh in the coming year.

Once again, we at The Point wish to extend an enormous "Thank You" to all those who have advertised with us during the year or worked with us in any way. Media is a difficult business, and we would not survive were it not for your support.

For the year 2013, we pray for peace, love and prosperity for all the people of The Gambia.

We hope that the Press will enjoy a year of increased freedom, and that the repressive media laws will become a thing of the past.

As we enter yet another new year, we would like to once again appeal to the government to review all draconian media laws, and any other law that hinders the work of journalists in this country.

One thing we would like to reiterate is the fact that we, as journalists, have always seen ourselves as partners in development and nothing else because, after all, this country belongs to all of us.

We pray that our colleague Chief Ebrima Manneh, who disappeared in mysterious circumstances in 2006, will come out of nowhere this year to our eternal joy.

We pray that those who take pleasure in harassing or killing journalists would see the value of our work and leave us alone.

We pray that Allah should give us, journalists, the strength to stand up for what is right, regardless of persecution right, left and centre.

We pray that the enemies of press freedom would not die through strange ailments, but would live long enough to see the better society that journalists relentlessly crusade for.

We pray that the killers of Deyda Hydara would be brought to justice this year. We pray that, wherever his killers are hiding, let them be exposed and punished in accordance with the laws of The Gambia.

We pray that those who disagree with journalists would not resort to the gun, but to the pen. We offer the right of reply to any aggrieved person.

We pray that our journalistic values of truth, objectivity and balance will make a difference in the New Year.

We call on President Yahya Jammeh to extend an amnesty to those who might have offended him and up to now remain in detention, for the sake of national unity.

Gambians would also like to see the rule of law given pride of place in the spirit of good governance.

In this case, due process must be followed at all times so that human rights are always seen to be respected.

For example, Gambians will be happy to see that no one is detained for more than 72 hours without trial.

"A wise man is not one who does not make mistakes, but he who learns from his mistakes"

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