Demba Ali Jawo has quickly fired back at lands and local government minister Hamat Bah who accused him of betraying Gambian media to issue licenses to GSM Operators.

During a government monthly joint press conference, Hamat Bah launched an all-offensive against the person of D.A Jawo, an former information minister, accusing him of being a principal factor to the financial struggle the Gambian media is currently going through.

However, the former state minister who himself is also a journalist delayed no time to allow his former cabinet colleague’s allegation to spread. 

He jabbed back at minister Bah for “lying”against him.

“While I do not have all the details with me right now, the fact is that all the applications for licenses to operate both TV and radio were extensively discussed in cabinet and approval given for the process to go ahead. It is therefore not true to say that I went against a cabinet recommendation not to issue a license to the QGroup. 

“While I agree that it may not be quite ideal to issue broadcast licenses to GSM companies, but there were some mitigating factors that warranted the issuing of those licenses. In the first place, it was not QCell which applied for the licenses but the QGroup created a separate company (Core Broadcasting and Multimedia Company Limited) which applied for the licenses and which was legally different from the GSM company. 

“Therefore, there was no legal basis to deny that company a license because, according to due diligence carried out by PURA, it met all the criteria to be issued one. Who am I to go against the recommendations of the technical experts?”.

“As a cabinet minister, I expected Mr. Bah to have known that as information minister, I was the very last cog in the wheel of issuing an operating license to a media house. I depended entirely on the advice of the technicians, especially PURA, whose mandate it is to carry out due diligence in order to determine who has met the criteria to be issued a broadcast license. 

“Therefore, Mr. Bah was quite unfair to accuse me of going against the recommendations of the cabinet because it was not the case. As far as I am concerned, the process was done in accordance with the dictates of the law, otherwise, PURA would not have recommended the issuing of the licenses for both QTV and QRadio, as well as all the other media licenses that I signed as a minister. Ironically, his statement was being covered live by QTV, which, according to him, should never have been given a license to operate,” he added.

Reporting by Adama Makasuba

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