The officials of the Media Foundation for West Africa have raised the disappearance of journalist Chief Ebrima Manneh as they met the Gambian leader over issues of media freedom in the country after two decades of dictatorship.
According to a press release from the office of the president, the Gambian leader has met with members of Media Foundation for West Africa, a regional press freedom advocacy group that is on an assessment mission in the country.
The release stated that President Barrow met with Professor Kwami Kari Kari of the Media Foundation for West Africa,(MFWA) and their long term partner, International Media Support (IMS).
President Barrow appreciated the important role the media, social media in particular played during the struggle for change by informing and enlightening the people.
The Gambian leader asserted that the country cannot develop without partnering with the media.
He acknowledged that the media sells government policies and programmes and its role in the transition to democracy is recognized.
President Barrow assured them that the media will operate within the parameters of democracy.
He observed that the former regime suppressed the media because of fear of having an informed population who would demand for a level playing field for democracy to grow.
“We will be media friendly; the media has the opportunity to inform the general public. That will help us to grow and partner with other nations. We cannot afford to be isolated,” Barrow stated.
He concluded that their appointment of a media doyen like Demba Jawo as minister of information is an indication of how serious his government takes the media.
On his part, Professor Kari Kari pledged that his organization will continue to support the media in The Gambia.
He welcomed the establishment of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission which he believed will bring out the truth about many atrocities including the case of Chief Manneh, a missing journalist.
Professor Kari Kari paid homage to President Barrow and the Coalition leaders for bringing The Gambia ‘back as a proud star of West Africa in rebuilding democracy’.