By Our Correspondent At The Daily Observer

Two leading staff reporters of Gambia’s pro-government Newspaper, the Daily Observer Messrs Ebrima Jaw Manneh and Lamin Dibba have been fired following what observer insiders called their “perceived critical reportage of the President’s so called aids cure.” The two were handed with their dismissal letters yesterday by the Observer Managing Director Dr.Saja Taal, who told them that the decision to end their services with the Observer came from the top and he Taal cannot help but to let them go for now. Reporter Ebrima Jaw Manneh and Lamin Dibba, a one time Free Lance Reporter for the Independent Newspaper were said to have angered the President following criticial questions they posed to the President at a news conference regarding his new found cure for aids and asthma.The two reporters whose questions never go down well with the Head of State were accused of “doubting and questioning” what Daily Observer insiders called President Jammeh’s ability to cure aids and asthma.

Inside the Daily Observer offices shock and disbelief gripped local staffers. An Editorial staffer told me that prior to the sacking of the paper’s leading reporters, they were cautioned by Mam Sait Ceesay and Dr.Taal to be mindful about their reportage of the President’s aids cure claim, as they could ran into problems if they report otherwise. It’s gathered that both Mam Sait Ceesay and Saja Taal disowned the two reporters following a pressure from the state house to send the journalists packing. Ceesay and Taal were quoted as saying that the two reporters never heeded to editorial advise and were under the influence of outside forces in a bid to ridicule the President Yahya Jammeh.

The Freedom Newspaper investigations into the story reveals that anxiety and worry continues to grip other Daily Observer reporters and Editors as the paper’s MD Saja Taal has been threatening to fire any staffer who fail to comply with the ongoing propaganda to portray President as aids doctor. Our  correspondent who happens to be staffer at the Observer said Saja Taal often insults and threatened local reporters critical of the government. Our correspondent said Taal himself authored Editorials on the President’s new found cure for HIV/Aids and asthma. Taal according to our reporter has been bragging that reporters trying to set him up would fail as he Taal was ten times faster than them. Other journalists from local sister Newspaper were victims of Saja Taal’s rude attitude. He ejects them from the paper’s premises anytime they called at the Observer to verify stories of national matters.

President Jammeh’s recent claim that he had cure for aids had been widely doubted across the country. Many Gambians believe that it was a “cheap propaganda” from a mentally retarded head of state. The government controlled media including the Daily Observer have ran numerous pieces claiming that the President had successfully cured HIV patients in the country.

Attempt to reach Saja Taal for comments proved futile as he was said to be at a meeting. But our correspondent at the Daily Observer confirmed the sacking of Ebrima Jaw Manneh and Lamin Dibba. It’s gathered that other staffers were lined up to be sacked. What’s evident is that President Jammeh’s aids cure is causing rift at the Observer. The inevitable bombshell caused the sacking of the paper’s leading reporters. For more details on this piece, stay tuned. Our Reporter is gathering more facts and would keep you posted once he is done with the investigations. Stay tuned….

Posted on Sunday, February 11, 2007 (Archive on Wednesday, February 28, 2007)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI

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