Sunday, October 28, 2012

Amid media censorship, two papers hit newsstands

The Mirror's 1st edition and The Daily Standard's 2nd edition/PHOTO/MSJOOF

Two newspapers have hit the newsstands in and around Banjul, the Gambian capital this month, October 2012. 

The Mirror and The Daily Standard are the latest addition to the Gambian newspaper publishing industry, which is often characterised as “not free.”  The new newspapers began publishing a month after the “arbitrary closure” of two leading independent newspapers, The Standard and The Daily News. 

Personnel of the national intelligence agency (NIA) ordered the two privately-owned The Standard and The Daily News to cease operation on September 14, 2012 without an explanation. 

An order they (NIA) claim to have come from President Yahya Jammeh’s office, State House.
Exactly a month earlier, NIA operatives gave a “final order” to close Taranga FM, an independent community radio station on August 14, 2012. As usual, no reason was advanced.
The Mirror

In its first edition of Friday October 12, 2012, The Mirror which publishes once a week, said on its editorial page: “We at The Mirror bring to the general readership a unique Gambian journal that would be producing stories, features and commentaries that are of public interest to our audience.”

 “Our goal is to break away from the old style and create something new, unique and relaxing, but informative to all and sundry,” the paper said in the editorial captioned: “What We Stand For.”

The Mirror, founded by Gambian writer Seedy Bojang, who is the Editorial Director added: “We hope to bring to the newsstand, a journal that will be presenting stories and features from fresh and human angles. While telling stories in depth, the entertainment angle will always be considered in a way that is uncommon in this country.”

Sounds independent, Lamin Jahateh, a Gambian journalist and publisher of Gambia News Online said of The Mirror, while giving his view on the editorial leaning of the paper.

The Daily Standard

Meanwhile, The Daily Standard, which publishes three times a week, hit the newsstand with its first edition on Wednesday, October 17, 2012. 

“Daily Standard Boss Commends President Jammeh” says a headline published on the paper’s front page second edition of Friday, October 19, 2012. In the story, The Daily Standard’s Proprietor RC Taylor commends the Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh on his “development agenda.” 

According to Mr. Taylor, Yahya Jammeh’s development agenda has “transformed the country in a short space of time from a tiny unknown hamlet to a growing nation of dignified people.”

Mr. Taylor, a Gambian who is said to have registered The Daily Standard paper since 1991, said he believe in the “philosophy, views and strategies” of the president Jammeh and wishes to assure him of the Daily Standard’s “unflinching support” in the course of national building under his leadership. 

Sounds pro-government, Mamadou Edrisa Njie, a Gambian journalist and publisher of Mansa Banko said of The Daily Standard, while giving his view on the editorial leaning of the paper.

Written by Modou S. Joof

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