Is the GPU leadership going to write to the President through the Director of Press and Public Relations seeking clarification about the president’s claim that some journalists approached him to offer him good media coverage in exchange for money?
I think GPU should do that lest we allow a space to emerge in which the reputation of journalists and the media be impugned. If this statement remains unchallenged one cannot ascertain how it might unfold in another scenario in future where someone else may also decide to levy unsubstantiated allegations on journalists just to gain cheap popularity or shield oneself from scrutiny.
GPU must convene either a press conference or issue a statement expressing its concern about the president’s allegation and demand clarification.
We need to know if indeed those so-called journalists that approached the president are indeed journalists or mere individuals seeking to do business through the media.
Not everyone who works in the media such as writing in newspapers or speaking before a microphone or camera in a radio or television studio or producing media products is a journalist. Hence the need for GPU to demand the president to clarify so that we protect the reputation, function and the public image of journalists.
If indeed those people are journalists then GPU should be in a position to take disciplinary action. GPU has a code of conduct and journalism is based on ethical standards that must be upheld at all times by all journalists.
To take money from public officials in order to provide good media is unethical which is not journalism. To engage in media work just to sell a particular ideology or politician or government is propaganda which is not journalism. To provide only favorable or positive media coverage for a particular political figure or institution or company is a public relations function which is not journalism. In a nutshell Journalists are neither propagandists nor public relations officers.
We must bear in mind that the role and responsibility of the media is already stipulated in the constitution hence anything that seeks to undermine or distort that function must be challenged. The allegation by the president potentially undermines the constitutional role of the media because the allegation has dented the credibility of journalists.
This allegation plus the case between OJ and Kerr Fatou among others indicate the new threats facing Gambian journalists. GPU and journalists must not rest so long as these incidents are prevalent.
For The Gambia Our Homeland