6 January 2014

Gambia: The New Year Surprise


The move by the president to allow two media outlets; namely Tarenga FM and Standard Newspaper to resume operations is indeed a welcome development. It shows the commitment of the leadership towards the development of the country and that dialogue and constructive engagement breed better outcomes than open confrontation. We hope the media fraternity will take this development as a basis to constructively engage the powers to achieve our common aspirations. It also calls for critical self-reflection within the media fraternity. Yes, we have to look inward and try to live up to our professional title. The style of journalism that is bent on using freedom of expression as a cover up to ridicule the presidency and to antagonise societal progress on no just cause is not in any way in line with the ethics of decent journalism. Suffice to say, it cannot be obscured that the media has a crucial role in society. Journalists are instrumental in shaping the views of people as well as the sense of direction of the society. But, mishandling of the pen or the microphone can only tantamount to self-destruction and society as a whole. This is why professionalism is an underlined word in the line of duty of journalism.

We should relax our minds and reflect on what the roles of journalists are in the society. Using the media as centres in trading derogatory remarks, expressing personal grievances, and publishing or broadcasting stories that lack truth and credibility are not in any way in the interest of responsible journalism.

Responsibility goes with professionalism. A journalist can only be professional in line of duty if he/she utilises the might of the pen or the microphone in a manner that promotes the advancement and progress of the society. Every journalist must therefore commit him/herself to ensuring that before rushing to the press, his/her story is credible, fit for public consumption and not just published for publishing sake.

Responsibility is not an ambiguous term. It takes great deal of effort, conscience and conviction for people to deliver responsibility in their work. As journalists we are required to be role models and be the mirror of society. We hope that in the spirit of collectivism in national development, responsible journalism will become the order of the day.

We welcome our sister media outlets back to the news stand.

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