Breaking News:Daily Observer Printers Napped By The NIA! Printers accused of stealing!
Daily Observer Printers Napped By The NIA-Amadou Sonko, Pa Alias “Small.” and others in NIA Nets!

“Accused of “Burning Newspaper Plates For The Daily Express Newspaper.”

“MD Saja Taal And Observer Editor Laid Down an Ambush For The Printers.” Observer Insiders unveiled.

By Our National Correspondent Landing Badjie.

At the time of filing this story, the three Daily Observer staff said to be in dentention in Banjul. The trio, including Amadou Sonko, Pa alias Small, were arrested late last week. They were said to have been burning newspaper plates for the Daily Express, an Independent local Newspaper in this country, without the consent of the Observer Management. According to highly placed sources at the heart of the Observer Company, said the entire saga began to unfold when the Managing Director and Editor of the Observer got a tip-off that their lithographers were burning plates for the Daily Express. The source said upon receipt of the information, the Observer top brass then also informed the NIA who laid an ambush for the men, leading to their arrest and subsequent detention late last week. According to intelligence reports, the men are being questioned as to their connection to a paper that was seen as a threat to the very survival of the paper that they depend on for their survival.

Observer Managing Director Saja Taal was also quoted as saying that the Gambia’s Information Secretary of state also the Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Observer would be very mad if she comes to learn about the development. The secretary of state ,like any other supporter of Jammeh’s government, must be uncomfortable with the Daily Express whose editors were picked up and detained shortly after their maiden edition hit news stands sometime last year.

There was no immediate word as to the fate of the arrested Observer staffers. Observer insiders who spoke to this reporter said the three risked being fired as Dr.Taal was reported to be very mad with them. Insiders say the three were the paper’s most qualified printers and sacking them was likely going to undermine Observer’s daily operations. Small they said, was one of the paper’s longest serving staffers. So far no charges have been officially proferred against the three printers.

The Daily Observer was formally owned by the exiled Liberian veteran journalist Kenneth Y Best, who was deported from the Gambia by the then military junta headed by Chairman Yahya Jammeh. Best ran into troubles with the former “Kaki Boys” following a critical commentaries he made regarding military rule in Africa. Unhappy with  Best’s  comments, the journalist was bundled up and thrown into a local police cell in Kartong, where he spent several hours prior to his deportation. Best who later resettled into the United States, resorted to selling the Observer to a close associate of the President Yahya Jammeh, in the person businessman Amadou Samba. Acting on the feedbacks he received from his local contact person and former colleague Sheriff Bojang regarding Mr.Samba’s  “patriotism” and business mindedness Best and his wife agreed to sell the paper. Mr.Bojang said so many good things Amadou Samba, which directly or indirectly compelled the journalist “guru” to dispose his paper off , which was at the time faced by “serious” financial crisis.

Since the sale of the Observer, local journalists employed by the paper have been at the receiving end. The paper, which used to be critical of the Ruling APRC has “compromised” its editorial independence. Journalists critical of the regime are often fired or forced into exile. The paper’s  management sought green light from state officials in most cases before going to press. Stories not okayed by the relevant authorities are often thrown into the trash.

Due to high cost of printing materials and lack of adverts, paper likes the Daily Express struggled to survive. Local companies are afraid to give adverts to paper’s perceived to be independent. As the situation appears, the Daily Observer dominates the Newspaper industry. Local business are forced to advertise with the Observer or risked being branded as anti “government” establishments.

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Posted on Monday, March 05, 2007 (Archive on Wednesday, April 25, 2007)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI
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