Gambia: Serrekunda West NAM Calls for Urgent Reform of Media Laws

Madi MK Ceesay, the National Assembly Member for SerreKunda West, has stressed the need to expedite the Media Law Reform process, during the recent adjournment debate at the National Assembly.

Ceesay said the Media Laws of the country are draconian, but disclosed that the Ministry has taken some steps. Ceesay said it is taking too long for Legislators to change these Laws, adding that he raised the issue two years ago, stressing the need to amend some of the bad Media Laws, but to no avail.

He said the President is doing his part, and that they should look at the matter holistically, with the objective of changing them; that this is long overdue.

"I have proposed a private member's bill and I was told by the Minister of Justice to hold on, because they want to make a holistic change. But these things are taking too long and the Laws are still affecting us. I urged the relevant Ministry to do their utmost so that these Laws are tabled before us here, and we debate on them to make good Laws," he said.

He added: "No country can prosper with bad Media Laws and whatever we have now, as far as they are still in our Law book, they are the Laws of this country. It is upon us to change these Laws in order to meet international standards".

He asserted that the economic situation of the country is poor, and implored the regime to look into the menace in lieu of expanding Cabinet and Embassies, while giving blind eyes on the economic conditions of the citizenry. He suggested that the Executive make some savings by down-sizing the Presidential delegation on foreign trips, so as to address poverty and dire economic situation of the county. "This Government should realise that they are a transitional one. And every Government comes to power by the Constitutional mandate or as in the situation of the current Government, by an MOU. The electorate hold Governments accountable for their electoral promises," he said.

"We all know that this Coalition Government 'crissed-crossed' this country's length and breadth with an agenda, which includes the three year agreement, leveling of the political playing field and to promote multiparty free and fair contests. This is not the tune of this Government now. This is why I say that we are sliding back to the 2016 situation," he stressed.

On Health, Ceesay said the Ministry should pay attention to the health facility in LatriKunda; that there is need to make the facility workable with the objective of meeting the health care needs of residents.

On the issue of rent, Ceesay said Government should come up with workable policies to solve the menace; that rents keep escalating and landlords keep asking for six months and one-year advance payments.

"This makes life very difficult for ordinary Gambians and we all know that Government's pay scale is small. Therefore, we should come up workable policies to ensure that the issue of advanced payment of six and seven months will be a thing of the past", Ceesay concludes.

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