A team of Gambian journalists led by the Gambia Press Union in partnership with the Publishers Association, Community Radios Association, and Network of Freelancers on Monday handed a paper demanding safety of journalists’ among others to the Minister of Information and Communication.

Speaking at the meeting on Monday, Information Minister Ebrima Sillah said the government has already put in place funds to help journalists amid the coronavirus pandemic.

He said because of the outbreak of coronavirus that consideration might be given to media organisations not to pay their tax, adding “newspapers in this country are bigger to one another and therefore privileges will be given to the media houses with larger staff and freelancers.”

President of the Gambia Press Union Sheriff Bojang Jr said: “we want everything to be clear because this issue deals with money and we (GPU) wouldn’t want to take any blame whereas there are faults. 

“We would want the government to look at the ongoing cause particularly the manhandling of reporters by the security officers.

“The systematic press briefing with the president is almost dying and this is where journalists would be accorded the chance by engaging government officials in limiting themselves with fake and false news.”

Pap Saine, a member of the Publishers Association, lamented that newspapers in the country are “almost dying due to lack of adverts” adding “many African leaders are helping their people in all the ways they could except for The Gambia. 

“We are hustling every day to get adverts and the responses we always received are the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Network of Freelancers member, Ousman A. Marong said: “Imaging freelancers are not staff and are entirely dependent on the numbers of their stories published. They are the in frontlines risking their lives going after stories.”

Reporting by Adama Makasuba 

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