By Our Banjul Bureau Chief Landing Badjie.
Paid for and Commissioned by the Freedom

The blackout out of Freedom Newspaper is now a subject of muted discussion
in Bars, taxis, Attaya Vous and other popular meeting points. The Gambia’s premiere online newspaper is one of the most reliable sources of news for Gambians in the country but the web-site could not be accessed by news-hungry Gambian public and those resident in the tropical West African country. The Gambian government has blocked the website for unexplained reasons.  The recent blockade of Freedom Newspaper is described as another setback to the quest of Gambians and friends of The Gambia in the country in their efforts to access balanced and divergent news reports. ” For there to be an enlightened democracy, the Press should be allowed to access information, managed it as dictated by the ethics of their profession. There cannot be true democracy without a free and vibrant Press. So why the unexplained fear of the Press,” a lecturer at one of the Gambia’s institutions of higher learning said in an interview with our Banjul chief

Meanwhile, a random survey carried out by correspondents in The Gambia revealed that Freedom Newspaper and the Foroyaa are the most preferred sources of information in the country as Observer is seen as too pro-government whilst The Point is seen as too afraid.

The Publisher of the online newspaper, a critical US-based Gambian journalist, have however assured that despite the setback, it would be business as usual. ‘Let our esteemed readers bear with us. We would get over the hitch as ours  is our social responsibilities of ensuring that our beloved motherland is conducive for the exercise of civil liberty at all times. Jammeh can block the Freedom Newspaper, but he cannot block our minds and hearts. We are resolute and committed to our work. Freedom is yet under attack, but we shall over come the challenges. We shall be emailing our stories to our loyal subscribers interested about the true story of the Gambian case today. The Freedom Newspaper cannot be loved by the dictatorship because we refused to  be bullied. With all their  bluffs of silencing Gambians, more and more Gambians are determined to work with us. For us, this is a victory for the Freedom Newspaper. Jammeh can hide, but cannot run. We shall continue to rattle his cage on a daily basis. Information is power  and we are convinced beyond all reasonable doubts that our media project is making impact in our fragile democratic process. This is the paper giving voice to voiceless, the oppressed and marginalized.’ he assured.

Meanwhile, Sud FM in Banjul has finally stopped operations in The Gambia, this paper can reveal. The FM station was closed by the Gambian authorities during The Gambia/Senegal border conundrum over increase in ferry tariff. The radio has
been accused of hauling derogatory remarks on the Senegalese government and
was therefore closed by the Gambian authorities.

The Gambia’s Information minister in her comment on the closure of the radio station said her government would not sit by and watch individuals destroy the good relations between Gambia and Senegal. She pointed out that the radio’s caricature of Wade was uncalled for and unprofessional. The station has now packed their radio equipment and left The Gambia for
good, since the Gambian authorities are in no mood to renew their revoked
operations license.

Posted on Sunday, June 03, 2007 (Archive on Monday, July 09, 2007)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI

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