By Adama Jallow
The Editor-In-Chief of The Voice newspaper, Musa Sheriff, Friday extended appreciation to President Adama Barrow and his cabinet for helping media houses during the peak period of the Coronavirus pandemic and as well for creating an enabling environment for press freedom in the country after the 2016/17 impasse.
Mr. Sheriff made these remarks on Friday as the Minister of Information, Honourable Lamin Queen Jammeh and his delegation visited The Voice newspaper office as part of his ongoing visits to the media houses in the country.
The Minister’s visit aimed at getting first-hand information on the possible challenges encountered by the various media outlets in the country for possible interventions.
This allowed The Voice newspaper to highlight its challenges since its inception in 1990 with the various pivotal roles played over the years.
Mr. Musa Sheriff informed the Minister and his delegate of the challenges faced by his media house.
Among other challenges, he said the most difficult challenge currently facing inadequate payment of advertisements fees by ministries and other departments, as their advertisements will be published but payment for the service will become a problem.
He pointed out that non-payment of advertisements or services will automatically affect the media house and hinder the progress, especially, publishers of newspapers “because it is not the daily sales of the newspapers that sustain the institution, but the adverts.”
He disclosed that currently The Voice does not have a newspaper printing machine, and this is causing the outlet lots of money monthly, which makes it so expensive for his institution.
However, the current number of staff, he said, is 27 including regional correspondents
He revealed that one of the pivotal roles The Voice Newspaper has played over the years is that the paper also serves as a training school for young journalists, through which some notable journalists who are currently in the various media houses in the country passed through The Voice to gain experience.
“Under the new government, The Voice is working freely compared to the past regime some of my staff and I were arrested and prosecuted. I, therefore, use this opportunity to extend my gratitude to you and through you to President Adama Barrow and his cabinet for this remarkable visit.”
In an extension, he acknowledged the President Barrow-led government for his assistance during the Covid-19 “because it was a very difficult time for us, and we are grateful for that.”
In his remarks, Information Minister Lamin King Jammeh thanked the Editor-In-Chief for informing the Gambian people and beyond the border through the paper that information is power while he assured him that they would take up his concerns.
Minister Jammeh revealed that it is essentially through the information that the citizens are kept informed and subsequently make informed decisions, while he further reminded us that constantly, even though the information is power, it could be as constructive so it could also be destructive depending on the content and the management.
“Remember we have no other place other than the Gambia, if we make it good, we make it good for ourselves, but if we make it bad, it will also turn back on ourselves. Let the information be ethical, factual guided within a certain spirit,” he said.
The delegates include the Permanent Secretary, Yankuba Saidy, GTRS Director General Malick Jeng, adviser to the Minister Mr. Abdu Touray, The Deputy Director of Information Services, Ebrima Njie, and Ebrima Sankareh, Principal Assistant Secretary among others accompanied the Minister on the visit.