Breaking News:Freedom Newspaper Editor-in-Chief Omar Bah finally arrives in the US- Editor M’Bai Praises the US Gov’t!!

Editor Bah Joins his colleagues at the
Freedom Newspaper!!

The Freedom Newspaper Management is pleased to welcome the paper’s Editor-in-chief Omar Bah  to the United States of  America. Editor Bah arrives here few days ago, after spending one year in exile in the West African country of Ghana. Editor Bah was forced into exile, following the hacking of the Freedom Newspaper by agents of The Gambian Government in May of 2006, which led to the arrest and  brutal torture of its subscribers. Bah who serves as our Banjul Bureau Chief then, was declared “wanted” by the Jammeh government. A team  of armed soldiers launched an unsuccessful operation to get him “alive or dead” if seen within the frontiers of the impoverished tiny former British colony, The Gambia. Bah a one time Daily Observer News Editor, left his wife and family behind, who suffered routine persecution from the trigger happy Jammeh gun men since he left the Gambia. Thanks to the US Government and the Ghana Based Media Foundation For West Africa, Bah has reunited with us here in the land of Freedom Great America.

We at the Freedom Newspaper appreciates the move taken by the US government to provide sanctuary to our own colleague Omar Bah. We have no doubt in our mind that Bah was going to be killed if apprehended by the murderous Jammeh government. Bah is a dead man walking, as he slightly escapes death. Jammeh and his thugs would be shocked today, upon learning about Bah’s presence in the US. Despite their repeated sinister campaign to discredit Bah’s case of settling here, we are pleased to announce that the pioneers of  “Freedom” Great America have  come to our aid by providing protection for our colleague. America has been a  big supporter of press freedom and cannot afford to watch by and allow Jammeh and his thugs to murder Bah.  Never!!  Please join our editorial team in welcoming Editor Bah to the United States. Bah feel at home. You are now in the land of Freedom. A land with a lot of liberties. A land with a lot of opportunities. A land where you can go to bed without having the fear of being visited by Jammeh’s secret police. A land where you can  freely express your views, without having the fear of being placed in Jammeh’s torture chambers at the Marina Parade in Banjul.

We are not in this media business to make name. We love our country and her people. That is why we put our lives on the line to defend press freedom and democracy on the continent. The civilized world appreciates our tireless efforts to promote democracy in our dear mother land the Gambia, through the might our pens. We are making a big difference in our quest to provide Gambians and friends of the Gambia, balanced, objective, accurate,unbiased
and up-to-date news.

To those of you, Jammeh hit men interested in seeing our down fall, we say relax. We are blessed and well guided by the All Mighty God. Bah,  like other Freedom Newspaper satffers and  subscribers suffered untold persecution from the hands of Jammeh’s bully agents. We are being condemned, oppressed and vilified because of our uncompromising stance towards nurturing press freedom in the Gambia. It’s our ardent belief that all human beings are entitled to their “God given” right to free expression and speech. Under Jammeh’s watch there is nothing like “free expression and speech.” Some of us who took the risk to serve the voiceless are paying for the price. The government forces us into exile. We are resoulte and determined to spearhead the media struggle we started to make the Gambia a just and democratic country in West Africa.

Editor Bah in a brief statement  thanked the US Government and all those who facilitated his presence here in the United States. “This is a victory for the Freedom Newspaper. We are committed to continue to do our journalistic  job here at Freedom.” said Bah who is gradually settling down. Bah praised the US Government for standing by him during the period in question.

Reacting to the story, Freedom Newspaper Publisher and Managing Editor Pa Nderry M’Bai said “We are exceedingly happy tonight. Our Banjul Bureau Chief Omar Bah, has finally reunited with the Freedom Newspaper family. From the Reporters,  down to the Editors are all very  happy tonight. This is a victory for the Freedom Newspaper. Since, we have been denied the right to practice our required journalistic work in the Gambia, countries like the US  would  welcome us with  an open arm. America has been an active promoter of press freedom and democracy. It cannot turn its back to victims of persecution and official repression from despotic regimes like the one we have in Banjul today. Bah,  like any other Freedom Newspaper subscriber have a well founded fear for present and future persecution from these wild animals hell bent on muzzling the rights and liberties of Gambians.”

Having said that continued Editor M’Bai “We want to thank the US Government for taking Omar Bah’s case seriously. From the onset, we have always insisted that Bah was a “potential target” for assassination by the Jammeh  Government. The US being a leading advocator for Press Freedom has done what it’s expected of it by ensuring that Bah is protected from any form of harm or persecution from  the murderous Jammeh Government. The US should  be commended for according Bah sanctuary here. The Freedom Newspaper Editorial team are very delighted. It’s  a positive move.”

Publisher M’Bai said the Freedom Newspaper would always stand by its staffers during the time of  joy and difficulty. “We constantly get in touch with our reporters on the ground, just to ensure that they are safe and well. This paper is committed to our correspondent’s  personal safety and security. We know what it takes to report in an hostile media environment like the Gambia. Landing Badjie replaces Editor Bah who is now heading our news room in the US. Bah’s presence here would help to minimize the Editorial work load.” Mr.M’Bai observed.

Editor M’Bai further observed that unless corrupt African leaders like Jammeh allows the private media to do their work freely without any form of censorship or repression,there cannot be  justice and equal rights on the continent. “The media is very vital in any true democracy. Corrupt and dictatorial leaders who have something to hide resorts to  trying to control and direct the editorial content of the private press. The Gambian private press is faced by such a situation today. The government wants to know what these papers  publish the next day. They planted undercover agents in almost all the media houses to monitor stories lined up for publication. With the advent of the internet, censored stories locally are published by the Freedom Newspaper. We don’t mind to be damned, but we are morally oblidged to report the truth and nothing but the truth. Free press is a corner stone in any true democracy. Jammeh needs to accept such a reality. He needs to change his bad concept towards the private press. We love the Gambian more than him. We devote our time and resources just to ensure that the usual  “power corrupt, absolute power corrupt”  don’t exist in the Gambia. As a leading online paper, our mission is to make our government accountable to its people, donors and supporters. If Jammeh don’t want to be accountable, let him leave the Presidency. Period!! It’s the job of the private press to hold him accountable.”said Editor M’Bai.

Mr.M’Bai called on the Freedom Newspaper staffers to keep up the good work.” There  is life at the end of the tunnel. Any personal sacrifice accorded to this paper would payoff- be it in the short term or  the long term. This paper is a wrong place for people with vicious intent. Our credibility is intact and unshakable. We believe in responsible journalism and not otherwise.  We valued the tirelessness services rendered to this paper by Editor Bah, Chief Correspondent Landing Badjie,  Bolong Jammeh, Wise Man, Muhammed Jawara, Justice Sam and others. We say bravo. Keep your heads high. The Gambian people and the civilized world appreciate the fine work we  are doing here at Freedom. We look forward the day when we shall operate the Freedom Newspaper in Banjul. The day when Jammeh would be put in handcuff and charged with crime against humanity. Our media project for the Gambia is here to stay.” Mr.M’Bai posited.

Posted on Tuesday, June 05, 2007 (Archive on Tuesday, July 10, 2007)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI
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