Online journalism is becoming the order of the day. Since the early 2000s, there have been a number of online Gambian newspapers, most of which are either operating from the USA, or UK. One would not hesitate to say that majority of these newspapers, though far, are contributing a lot to the socio-economic development of the country.
Depending on who is talking, online newspapers in some quarters are referred to as enemies of The Gambia, or better still, anti-Jammeh regime. A few of these Gambian online newspapers are not accessible to resident Gambian readers. Why the inaccessibility? Many think the sites are blocked.
Media Watch has a contrary view on the view of some people that these online papers are enemies of the state or they are just anti-Jammeh regime. It is a service that they are offering, which service may go well with others but may not go well with others too. This column feels that information should not be suppressed in any way. Information is like air or water, if you block it, it must find its way through other holes. So never try to block information channels.
Media Watch agrees that people who are in charge of disseminating information should be responsible by all standards in the way they do their job. Responsible journalism is key to national and international development. Journalists are not above the laws in any country, be it in The Gambia or elsewhere. And it is just unprofessional for anyone who calls him or herself a journalist to write and publish anything they feel like. More is needed before publishing an article.
www.Kibaaro.com is one of the latest Gambian online newspapers that just entered this very important journalism ring. I, for one, find the content of Kibaaro very educative and palatable. So I think many others will find it so. The Kibaaro, like many others, is out to reach the larger Gambian population, both for those residing in the country and for those who are residing outside. So welcome to the world of informing and education.Media Watch is not welcoming individuals of Kibaaro as they have been in this many years ago at different medium and capacities. We are only welcoming the outfit, “Kibaaro.”
As readers may be aware, The Gambia has as many exiled journalists as it has in the country. Statistics have shown that an estimated 20% of Gambian journalists are living in exile. Kibaaro is a brainchild of some Gambian journalists in exile, who have been deprived one way or the other of the pride of practising their much-loved profession in their native country they so loved.
However, journalism is one profession that can be practised whereever one is. Distance may have its negative impacts, but nonetheless, the journalists who are far can still contribute to national development. And that is exactly what Kibaaro is doing.
The team of journalists, writers and academics consists of Gambians, who had practised journalism in The Gambia and those who are seasoned writers, with no experience of practising journalism in the country.
Media Watch can vouch for the credibility of many of them, who are very much known to Media Watch and have no doubt that these are very good Gambian citizens with high regard for The Gambia. For some, I have worked with in the newsroom and for others, we were in the executive of The Gambia Pres Union some time ago.
These are the likes of Musa Saidykhan, P.K Jarju and Alieu Badara Sowe. Others that I do not mention were working for some of our local newspapers before they traveled out of the country.
Gambians in the diaspora have long been longing for a medium where they can access impartial news without any fear from any individual, or organization. Gambians are also in need of accessing reports from their Gambian journalists of the old, who left without farewell. So the many online newspapers are a bridge between the two.
Editors of Kibaaro told the Media Watch that they have come to provide such a medium to such writers to continue their conversations with their readership in The Gambia and the Diaspora.
The following are the brains behind the existence of Kibaaro:
1. Bamba Mass, Political and Human Rights Activist (UK)
2. Yanks Darboe, Practising Lawyer in the UK and former freelance reporter with the Daily Observer.
3. Pa Modou Bojang, former Managing Director for Brikama FM and correspondent of the Daily Observer.
4. Yaya Dampha, Human Rights Activist, Sweden and former reporter with the Foroyaa Newspaper and a member of the Gambia Press Union.
5. Musa Saidykhan, Editor-in-Chief of the paper and former Editor-in-Chief of the Independent Newspaper and member of the Gambia Press Union
6. Mr Alieu Badara Sowe, former correspondent with the Daily Observer and presenter at Radio Syd
7. Mr P.K. Jarju, former correspondent with the Independent and Daily Observer
8. Mr Suntou Touray, a concerned Gambian in the UK.
These are the named persons behind Kibaaro News. There are many other supporters and advisers, all of whom cannot be named for space and other reasons, but who are as important as those mentioned above.
“The difference between Kibaaro and many other online papers is that it was a group project and not a one-person newspaper,” said Yankuba Darbo.
Media Watch welcomes Kibaaro into the ring and wishes them all the best in their endeavors to give information for the development of human beings in-respective of where they may be, or who they are.