Monday, March 20

Deyda sacrificed his life to defend voiceless as Pap Saine testifies in Germany

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The co-founder of The Point Newspaper – Pap Saine yesterday testified in the trial involving Bai Lowe in Germany.

In his evidence, Mr. Saine told the court in Celle that Deyda was like an elder brother to him.

“He was a journalist who put all his love and compassion into his work, trying to be a voice for the voiceless,” he adduced.

“Deyda sacrificed his life to defend the voiceless and fought with the truth.”

“After his murder, my family and friends asked me to leave The Point. However, a colleague of mine Demba Jawo said to me that ‘either you continue or not, you will die one day.’ But for us, who knew him, keeping the newspaper and his column alive at the same time meant honouring his legacy.”

“Deyda and I were brothers. We started our career with the Radio in 1970; then from 1983 to 1989, we worked part time for Senegambia Sun – a weekly paper financed by the Senegalese Daily Le Soleil to promote the Senegambia Confederation till its dissolution.”

“Deyda had participated immensely in the development of the press. He was an RSF correspondent for 20 years and AFP 30 years.”

“That was the time there was a vacuum in the Gambian press to have tabloid newspapers; on 16 December 1991, The Point was established by Pap Saine, Deyda Hydara and late Baboucarr Gaye, who later resigned in April 1992.”

“Deyda used to receive threats especially with regard to his famous column: ‘Good Morning Mr. President’ in which he dealt with weekly issues and tried to find solutions.

I first heard about Bai Lowe on 24 February 2013 when he was interviewed on Freedom Radio explaining how Deyda was killed and ‘junglers’ involvement through the direction of Ousman Sonko, the ex-minister of Interior in the Jammeh regime.”

‘He was the one giving directions to the junglers who killed Deyda’ Mr. Saine quoted Bai Lowe as saying.

He talked about Lawyer Ousman Sillah’s attempted murder 2003.

“In my opinion, there was self-censorship and people were afraid to listen to Freedom Radio in The Gambia. No media outlet did carry the interview because of massive reprisals against journalists.”

“During ex-president Jammeh’s regime, journalists were arrested, killed, got their houses or media houses burnt.”

“Malik Jatta, an alleged jungler, who first shot Deyda told TRRC on 22 July 2019 that Bai Lowe was the driver of the junglers who killed Deyda on 16 December 2004.”

“Bai Lowe’s confession exposed Yahya Jammeh for his abuse of human rights and killing his opponents.”

“With the Barrow Government, there is significant improvement on press freedom; independence of judiciary; democracy and rule of law. Since President Barrow assumed office in 2017, The Gambia made good progress with RSF World Ranking.”

“The Gambia is now 50 from 180 countries in the world and 8 in Africa from the 55 countries in press freedom.”

“The government should abolish the draconian media laws and pay on time bills of adverts owed to media houses.”

Since the beginning of the Bai Lowe trial, RSF has sponsored three Gambian journalists to cover the proceedings.

“The TRRC did a marvelous job by exposing the killings of ex-president Jammeh totalling 250.

There are 90 preparators including Jammeh who should be prosecuted,” Mr. Saine said.

“The government is looking for funds to implement recommendations of TRRC.”

He urged young journalists to follow the footsteps of Deyda Hydara, his sacrifice for press freedom as he was a real role model.