Mr. President, first of all, we would like to commend you and your government for closely working with the press in a friendly atmosphere since your assumption to the highest office in January, this year.
At least you are fulfilling part of your promises to the media because so far so good, your government is upholding the principle of freedom of expression and press freedom as stated in the constitution. We are grateful that private radio stations and print media are now able to do their work without any form of hindrance.
Mr. President one of your key campaign messages was to abolish the draconian media laws in the country. You promised to repeal these laws in order to strengthen the media fraternity in The Gambia. But the laws are still here, after nine months of your assumption.
The media also need support to help recover its debts from the government and parastatals, as the print media is running with lots of overheads and taxes levied on them.
We are appealing to both the ministers of information and finance to work closely to see how best to help the media overcome its constraints because without the media, democracy cannot be nurtured and promoted to the fullest.
The media is here to inform and educate the public about sensitive national issues of concern. And as a result, we should take a leaf from other countries in partnering with the media.
Mr. President, many francophone countries, like Senegal, Cote d'voire and Gabon, just to name a few, each year often give subventions to media houses to help meet their operational costs. This, in turn, helps the media to play its rightful role as the fourth estate of the society, because it's the power that wields an indirect influence on the development of society, even though they do not partake in political system.
It is against this backdrop that the media needs the support and collaboration of your government to measure up to expectations and to help remedy the situation so that we can sustain our business, as advertisers do not often pay on time.
The press and the government are partners in development and should work closely in a friendly manner because we are not enemies to progress and development.
Good day Mr. President