eeth Bite:A devastating revelations on the Daily Observer Crisis- A case study!!
The Daily Observer is undergoing serious transformation. No one at the paper is assured of job security. Not even its MD Saja Taal. Most of the sackings emanates from the President’s office. The Observer which allowed  itself to be used for “junk journalism” over the years by the failed Jammeh government,  is at war with the state. The Observer is these days becoming a “no go area” for serious minded journalists. Check book journalists, despite their  low life,  are finding it difficult to operate at the Observer. They offend the seat of power,  with their failed attempts to impress the power that be, only to be humiliated and sacked. Off late, some journalists  joined the paper for certain reasons, with the exception of few principled ones.

First and foremost, they thought that by working for the Observer, their chances of being arrested or fired would be minimal. Second, they also believe that by working with the Observer, they are assured of job security, good pay and other incentives. Thirdly, they believe that working for the Observer would give them advantage against other journalists working in other private papers. That,  they would be given favors by government officials in terms of information sharing.

Today, the government which used to harass and bully the Point and the Independent had shifted their unfinished terror tactics to its “pet journalists” at the Daily Observer. The Observer is a potential target for bully these days. The NIA spends hours cross checking the content of their paper. Any piece perceived to be critical of the government, means the end of the author’s career with the paper. Some of these poor Editors/ Reporters earned their living through writing. Sacking them means denying them their livelihood. Some of these fired reporters/Editors are the bread winners of their respective families.

With all these happenings at the Observer, there is little public sympathy. Gambians at home don’t feel sorry for the Observer staffers, as they shamelessly allowed to be used against their fellow brothers and sisters. The average Gambian believe that the Observer journalists sold themselves to the system by allowing to be used for nothing. That said, these so called journalists compromised their journalistic principles  by trading their integrity with money and personal aggrandizement. The Observer journalists  have also been accused of propagating “hate and violence” against the oppressed Gambian Community, with the sole intention of pleasing their masters.

As the saying goes, what goes around, comes around. Today, it’s Observer own turn. Let them sink. No mercy for the merciless. The time has come for these so called “join the list” journalists to reconcile with the Gambian people. They must be very lucky to secure a job elsewhere, because their credibility had been dented for good. You dine with the devil and expect decent minds to accept you back with open hands. Gambians can forgive, but cannot forget.

Kenneth Y Best was wrong to sell the Observer!

This headline might sound controversial, but the truth be told Mr.Best made the  biggest mistake by selling the Observer to an associate of the President  Amadou Samba. Best being a journalist guru, ought to  have known better, the implications of selling  such a  national paper to Samba without running proper background checks. To some extent, he hurriedly disposed off the paper, without double checking with other independent minded journalists in Banjul to ascertain his sales agent’s claims on Samba’s integrity. He sales agent, whoever the person might be, contributed to the current trials and tribulations journalists at the Observer are faced with.

The agent was economical with the truth,  when he told Best that Samba was an “independent” entrepreneur when he was not. Samba survives on government contracts to run his business. Without government contracts, his business would suffer natural dead. Samba came to the limelight shortly after the July 22ND coup. His business was not faring well during the first Republic. His fishing vessels were grounded for cash problems. Disgruntled sailors often stormed his Banjul offices demanding to be paid. We have names of such sailors to release online if Amadou Samba ever disputes what is reported here.  Yahya Jammeh created the Amadou Samba factor,  with the dubious contracts given to him on un tendered. The airport, the Banjul Arch and other business sites were never tendered. There is no way  that Samba can offend Jammeh by allowing the Observer to publish stories critical of the state. This is far fetch. It’s impossible!!!

Latest information from the Observer suggests that Mr.Samba  has since given up managing the paper. The paper is owned by Yahya Jammeh. Period!! Jammeh decides who works at the Observer, thanks to his errand woman  Neneh Macdowl Gaye. Gaye has been doing dirty job for Jammeh. Samba was used as a  shield to purchase the paper. That’s the hard fact.

History in the making at the Observer

Journalist Chief Manneh is reported dead. He was said to have been allegedly murdered by the Jammeh government. The government has not denied the report yet, it only says Manneh was not under their custody. That’s not enough. A Government interested about the wellbeing of its citizens would have demonstrated some kind of interest into Manneh’s case. But the realities on the ground suggests that the government is not keen at entertaining questions about the journalist’s whereabouts.

Killing Chief Manneh was an expensive move on the side of the Jammeh government. Chief Manneh used to welcome President Jammeh during his past Ghana visits. There was this meeting, he had with the Gambian Community in Ghana and was chaired by Chief Manneh. What the hell is going on? The system turning against its “pet boys”?  There is no justification to take a reporter’s life because he or she is unhappy  about what’s going on  in the country.

There is this report that Chief Manneh was linked to Daba Marena. Whether true or false, Daba was Chief’s good friend. Chief used to have free access to Daba. If it is true that he was killed alongside with Daba and co, the state should be honest enough to accept responsibility. We are determined to use our investigative skills to get to the bottom of the truth in this matter. Yahya Jammeh should stop the killing  and give peace a chance. Anytime the system crumbles, he would pay for the price. The world is closely watching you. These mass killings cannot go unpunished!!!

List of Fired Observer present and former Staffers

Journalist Chief Manneh allegedly killed by the government ??? Editor Lamin Dibba fired, Editor Seedy Bojang, also fired, Editor Ebrima Jaw Manneh fired, rehired, Editor Mam Sait Ceesay fired, Editor Lamin Cham fired, Editor Omar Bah fired, declared wanted., MD Momodou Sanyang fired, Editor Momodou Musa Touray forced to resign, Editor Ngang Thomas fired, MD Sheriff Bojang fired, MD Buba Baldeh, fired, MD Sariang Ceesay fired, MD Theophlous George fired, Editor Demba Ali Jawo fired, Senior Staff reporter Alieu Badara Sowe fired, Senior Staff reporter Pa Nderry M’Bai fired,  Reporter Alahgie Mbye forced to leave due to censorship, the list goes on and on……

Omar Bah, Demba Ali Jawo,  Alieu Badara Sowe and Pa Nderry M’Bai are journalists of  high standing. They worth their salt. Despite the government’s move to terrorize them, the journalists  remain focused and uncompromising. They continued to assert their independence until the last day they were fired.

The Sale of the Observer, a curse for  the Gambian media.

The sale of  the Daily Observer is no doubt a curse to  the Gambian private press. We can vividly remember how our dear sister Fatou Jahumpa Ceesay now (Speaker of Parliament) openly declared a war against the Independent Newspaper by secretly undermining the paper. Fatou uses her position, influence and what not to lure Independent reporters to leave the paper. Her objective was to paralyze the paper. Some of the reporters left on their own, but some were manipulated by sister Fatou to abandon the paper. The Independent Editors worked very hard to sustain the paper because the conspiracy reached was to take the paper from the news stands. Fatou had a special project on that.

She smiles for the Independent editors, but deep on the bottom of her heart she hates them to the maximum. For some reasons, Fatou thought that her mission to end the Independent would  give the Observer an edge over  the Point and other sister papers. She was working hand in hand with the then Observer MD Sheriff Bojang. They strategize ways and means of taking over the Independent, with their sinister plans to hijack the paper’s reporters. These reporters were promised with better pay, promotion, studies and so on…

Sister Fatou partly achieved her desire to snatch the Independent reporters, but guess what ? Today,  Fatou is  “black listed” by the very Daily Observer. She no longer enjoys  having  her face into the front pages of the Observer. She also cannot arraign for interviews with Observer reporters, because an order has been given to drop cheap propaganda stories coming from Fatou.

It’s evident that the current Information Minister Neneh Macdowl Gaye, who happens to be the Observer board Chairperson  is an arch rival of Fatou Jahumpa Ceesay. The two are strange bed fellows. Their differences is a longs story, which cannot be tabulated in one piece. The two had been trying to undermine each other to the President for a longtime now. They do everything humanely possible to win the love of Jammeh. Jammeh being a chief womanizer, capitalize on the weakness of these two women.  In the end, he created a condition for suspicion between the two.

Fatou was kicked out from her Director of Press job, when the hit was high on Jammeh. Neneh was in Jammeh’s good books at the material time. She was promoted to TV Manager ahead of her senior Jainaba Nyang. She was later elevated to the position of Secretary of State, whilst  Fatou was recalled and offered nominated MP. Throughout this period, the two were doing what the wollofs called “Masla” meaning pretending to be in good terms when they are not.

As soon as,  Jammeh appointed Neneh as the Observer Board Chairperson, the lady thought that  it was about time to avenge the media censorship meted out to her by Fatou’s,  while she was pulling the stringes in those days at the Observer. Fatou was widely listened to by the Observer Management. She invite  Editors and reporters at her Kanifing residence for lunch. All these,  was geared towards getting publicity at the Observer. FJC likes publicity a lot. She reaches out to the President with her daily headline stories published at the Observer. The newsworthiness of Fatou’s stories were never gauged. The Observer just publishes whatever junk coming from Fatou. This to some extent landed them into an unfinished libel suit brought against the disgraced Speaker. Fatou is the first defendant, while the Observer is the second defendant. Lawyer Mariam Jack Denton  is suing the two for defamation of character. Fatou uses the Observer to insult and ridicule the opposition and the private press.

Neneh came and stopped what she perceives as FJC’S nonsense. She calls the Observer each time the lady is featured by the paper. Left with Neneh alone, FJC should not be mentioned in the pages of the Observer. She wants the lady to be sidelined for good. Reporters assigned to the National Assembly are careful about what they report about parliamentary proceedings. They tend to ignore about the Speaker’s messages designed to captivate the attention of the press.

Unhappy  with Neneh’s media censorship, FJC run around the Point Newspaper offices, soliciting for coverage. She said bad things against the Observer, the President and Neneh Macdowl Gaye. The unsuspecting Point reporters welcome the Speaker with an open arm, not knowing that she was only out to project her image to the President. FJC uses such stop by interviews to  bribe journalists. She made numerous attempts to hand over envelops containing cash to poor reporters in the position to sell her image. The late Deyda Hydara, had always warned Point Reporters to refuse accepting money from Fatou. Deyda was all the time stressing the need  for reporters to adhere to journalistic ethics, which was not in Fatou’s blood. She believes in inducing journalists to get what she wanted.

Few journalists can withstand Fatou’s way of luring journalists into corruption. What she does,  is to first establish line of communication between such journalists. She would invite you for dinner and offer you lift. This writer turns down Fatou’s move to offer him lift in the past. She would be calling pretending to be checking on you. Our journalists need to be really strong to withstand Fatou’s manipulative moves. She is a real politician. She can curse Jammeh’s mother today and the next day she would be saying nice things about the man. That’s Fatou. She is a woman of  many colors. She would be the first person  to disown Jammeh if he was out of power today.  I have been away for sometime, but am back with full force. I was in Ivory Cost taking care of some stuff there.

Posted on Wednesday, July 11, 2007 (Archive on Tuesday, August 28, 2007)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI
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