Thursday, April 7, 2011

Government contradicts earlier reports on closure of private radio station


Taranga FM, a privately-owned radio station in the suburbs of Serrekunda was closed down for a month by Gambian Security Agents for reviewing what has been termed as “opposition” newspapers, according to media reports.
The Sinchu Alagie-based community radio was running its popular news broadcast “Xibari-Besbi” in which it reviewed mainly news published by private or independent newspapers in the “Wolof language” for most uneducated Gambians or those who do not have access to newspapers.
It resulted to the grilling of its Proprietor, Ismaila Ceesay by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) and the subsequent closure of the station from January 18-February 14, 2011.
However, on April 5, 2011, when the Minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure, Mr. Alagie Cham appeared before the Legislature during the 1st meeting of the 2011 Legislative Question and Answer Session in Banjul, he said Taranga FM temporarily ceased broadcasting on 18th January, 2011 to make certain that some administrative procedures are put in place.
He was responding to a question posed by the United Democratic Party Parliamentarian for Jarra Central Constituency, Hon. Pa Jallow on the reason behind the closure of the FM station.
Minister Cham added that the Management of Taranga FM wasted no time in putting in place those administrative procedures and as a result, resumed broadcasting on 14th February 2011.
The radio has since resumed its news broadcast, Xibari-Besbi (news of the day); however, its review of local newspapers has been largely focused on events published by The Daily Observer, a pro-government newspaper.
The shift has seen little or no news reviews of the independent newspapers. Privately-owned Citizen FM and Sud FM, a Senegalese radio station in Banjul were both forced to close down in 2002 and 2004 respectively. They were engaged in news broadcasts in which they review private publications.  

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