By Arfang M.S. Camara
The President of the Gambia Press Union (GPU), Emil Touray has called on the new government to repeal or change the draconian media laws affecting press freedom in the Gambia.
Emil Touray was speaking Saturday, during the commemoration of the 13th anniversary of the murder of Deyda Hydara, a Gambian journalist.The event was organized by the Gambia Press Union in collaboration with their partners and held at the University of The Gambia’s auditorium.
The symposium was aimed at renewing calls for the Gambia government to investigate and bring to book killers of Deyda Hydara and those who were arbitrarily subjected to cruel treatments for their journalism work as well as strengthening the advocacy for the promotion of democracy and freedom of press.
The program was witnessed by family members of Deyda Hydara and Chief Ebrima Manneh amongst others.
GPU President, Further said that years back nobody thought about organizing such an event but now its seems the country is free from dictatorship.
“Having this kind of commemoration means that there are serious changes in the political landscape of the country”.
He paid homage on behalf of the GPU to journalists who die while serving their country, adding that they are not just commemorating the murder of journalists but they are also commemorating the end of tyranny.
He finally urged and called on journalists to work for the development of the country, saying that the new found press freedom goes with responsibility.
Baba Hydara, Son of Deyda Hydara said that the day is set aside for journalists who sacrificed their lives for the development of press freedom in the country. He recalled the days his dad used to write articles on pieces of paper compared to now that journalist send in their stories in a more convenient manner for publication.
He added that his dad sacrificed his life in serving his country, saying that his dad would be very happy to see that his wishes for press freedom is taken to this level.
“My would be very happy to see that newspapers stories being read on smart phones”. Baba said
The Senegalese Ambassador to the Gambia, Professor Saliou Ndiaye expressed sadness and sympathy to the families of the slain journalists who worked tirelessly to execute their duties in the Gambia, adding that the name of the fallen journalists should not be forgotten as he called on the government and the people of the Gambia to decorate them by naming schools or streets after them
Dr. Amadou Scattred Janneh also joined other speakers to urge the government to change the draconian laws made by the former regime hindering the work of Journalists. He called on the government to bring Jammeh to justice, adding that his struggle will never end until Jammeh and his associates are brought to justice
Binta Manneh, Sister to Chief Ebrima Manneh said that his brother was a very hard working journalist who did his work with obedience and truthfulness, adding that Chief Manneh adopted Deyda Hydara as his mentor and both of them were killed by the same people
According to her Chief Manneh was the breadwinner of their family and that his demise or disappearance is a huge lost to the entire family.
Other speakers during the ceremony were Ebrima Sillah, DG GRTS, Sam Sarr and Managing Editor of Foroyaa Newspaper