US Ambassador Visits The Daily News
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
The United States Ambassador to The Gambia last week Wednesday paid an official visit to The Daily News, a private independent tri-weekly Gambian newspaper situated at Churchill’s Town.
Accompanied by embassy staff, the visit was part of Ambassador Pamela White’s tour of local media institutions to get first-hand information about the media landscape – including opportunities and challenges – and by extension the country.
White and her team held a private discussion with The Daily News management. She was informed that The Daily News started operation in April 2009, as an independent newspaper. And that as it stands today, it is a major provider of accurate and reliable information in all spheres of national development without being dictated on the choice of issues to address.
“But our greatest concern is a printing press,” said The Daily News general manager, Mr Bakary Sanneh. “As we speak here now our paper is yet to be out in the street.”
He also pointed out inadequate press equipment – computer, voice recorder and camera – and inadequate human resource as challenges frustrating the paper’s effort to fulfill its mandate.
Mr Sanneh used the opportunity to thank the US Embassy for providing thirty news print rims to the paper, which he said has reasonably reduced the expenditure burden on the paper.
During discussions with the staff, Saikou Ceesay, a senior reporter and editorial assistant pointed out the existing restrictive media laws as a major constraint.
“What I would consider as the biggest achievement for the Gambian media is the advent of the two year diploma course underway at the Gambia Press Union Secretariat. The diploma course is the first of its kind and would help capacitise 18 journalists to full grown professional reporters and editors”, Mr Ceesay added.
Sports anchor and lay-out Editor Abdoulie Nget also decried of lack of training in graphic and design for media practitioners in the country.
Ambassador Pamela White said she felt thrilled by The Daily News editorial stance.
“The newspaper industry in the Gambia is vibrant and I believe is getting stronger all the time. I regularly receive six or seven newspapers a day and I read them all from cover to cover. I am pleased to see the divergent views expressed in the editorial pages of the numerous newspapers.” she said.
She said the out-going World Bank President has a very positive view about World Bank projects in The Gambia. “I think it is important to recognize that some MDG development goals are being worked on very hard in the Gambia. Successes should be recognized, just as the challenges should be. For example The Gambia can take pride in the high enrollment rates in primary schools across the country. However, the number of people living in poverty is still way too high”, ambassador White remarked.