Monday, June 17, 2024

Minister Bah Accuses Former Information Minister D. A. Jawo of Defying Cabinet Decision and Granting Licenses to GSM Operators

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By: Dawda Baldeh

The Minister for Lands, Regional Integration, and Religious Affairs, Hamat N.K. Bah, has accused the former Information and Communication Minister, Demba Ali Jawo, of defying a cabinet recommendation by issuing licenses to GSM operators.

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Bah made these accusations at a joint ministerial press conference earlier today at the Sir Dawda Kairaba Jawara International Conference Center.

He told journalists that the cabinet had agreed not to issue licenses to GSM operators, but the then Information Minister D.A. Jawo went against that decision.

He questioned how the media and advertisement industry would make money if GSM operators owned televisions and radios.

“You (GSM operators) are the ones supposed to be paying millions to the media for advertisement to build the capacity of their staff.

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The cabinet decided not to issue licenses to GSM companies to operate television or radio so that the advertising industry would grow and make money.

But Demba Ali Jawo went against this decision when he was the Minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure and issued licenses even though we asked him not to,” Bah explained.

He added, “Today, you (media) are victims of that decision because will Qcell come to pay for advertisement to you? No! Because they have a TV and a radio, and Africell has a radio too.

And D.A. Jawo is from your industry and denied you this opportunity. I’m saying this, and let him listen to me, let him respond.”

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Furthermore, Bah claimed that D.A. Jawo did not do much to help the media when he was Minister of Information.

“You need this money to train your people, upgrade your facilities, and do a better job.

I told the minister that it is important for the government to take resources and help the media houses to train and build the capacity of their staff to improve professionalism,” he added.

Bah noted that supporting media capacity building will make a difference in the quality and how the media operate in the country.

He emphasized that if other countries have done so, Gambia can do it by working with the Gambia Press Union to discuss ways to generate revenue and support the media.

Minister Bah announced that he has been directed to allocate land to some media houses to reduce their rental costs.

“The President directed me a few weeks ago to make sure that some media houses are given land because they are paying huge amounts of money on rent.

I have already directed a unit within the Ministry of Lands to handle that process to make sure we provide land for these media houses to reduce their rental costs,” he said.

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