UDP Goes On the Offensive ; Calls on The Media Umbrella Body To Put It’s House In Order

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By: Christian Conteh

The Media Response Team of the United Democratic Party (UDP) has fired back at the Gambia Press Union (GPU), the umbrella body for media practitioners in the country, asking it (GPU) to put its house in order.

The UDP says it is amazed by the reaction of the union against the comments made by its party leader, Lawyer ANM Ousainou Darboe, in response to journalist Pa Nderry Touray.

According to UDP’s Media Response Team, “In his response Lawyer, Darboe called out the said journalist for his attempts to create a rift between the party and the Mayor of Banjul, Her Ladyship, Rohey Malick Lowe-Saidykhan.”

Lawyer Darboe the team says further called out the said journalist for his Anti-Mandinka diatribe and bigotry, comments the GPU says is an unacceptable attack of the said journalist and for that reason issued a stern press release against the UDP party leader.

“It is rather astonishing that The Gambia Press Union has rushed to issue a press release to condemn than doing the needful expected of an organisation of its repute. We believe among the obligations of the GPU is to safeguard the conduct of their members from inciting ethnic divisions in this country. For that can have dangerous consequences, and if they have no guidance on such ethics, they ought to work on it asap,” the team states.

It went on to note that if Africans are to learn anything significant from the Rwandan genocide, it would be the danger of irresponsible journalism, which incited and led to the devastating loss of human lives in that country’s war.

The team went on to state clearly that calling journalists out for their irresponsible professionalism is nothing new in modern democracies, “unless our umbrella body for the media houses is naive of that knowledge and understanding.”

Similarly, the Media Response Team states that it deems it quite appropriate and measured that if their party leader, who is well informed about the biased reporting of Mr Pa Nderry Touray, called his distasteful reporting out to him, the public, and the attention of the umbrella body regulating his conduct they expect the GPU to call Mr Touray and investigate his style of reporting and educate him on the ethics of his profession, such that it will allay the fears of a section of his audience, who deemed or perceived him to be anti-Mandinka, that he holds no such bigotry against them or any particular section of the country.

“However, rather than putting your house in order, it is disappointing to us that the GPU attempts to engage in defending the indefensible conducts of its members, whilst attempting to tarnish the stellar image of our party leader, who has always been a champion in defending media freedoms in this country and has a long-standing good relationship with the Gambian media.”

It ends by calling on the Press Union to next time when there is an allegation of unprofessionalism of any of your members, investigate first and put its house in order to allay the fears of the public, before jumping to their defence.

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