Medier i GambiaMedia in the Gambia

Mediesituationen i Gambia

Det er ikke bare vanskeligt – det er også farligt – at være journalist i Gambia. Her kan du møde gambiske mediefolk, der i korte indslag fortæller om en hverdag med censur og chikane mod journalister, et uopklaret drab på en kollega, konstant mangel på ressourcer til at udføre sit arbejde og de manglende muligheder for uddannelse.

Vagthunden er i elendig form

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=us3IwpdE0l8&feature=plcp[/youtube]

Pressen bliver ofte kaldt den 4. statsmagt. Men medierne i Gambia har det svært.

Drabet

Myndighedernes angreb på medier og journalister – herunder trusler, tilfældige arrestationer og tortur – er blevet beskrevet som de værste i Vestafrika. Det ER farligt at være kritisk journalist i Gambia. Deyda Hydara blev myrdet.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrkWwJzqUrk&feature=plcp[/youtube]

Selvcensur

Medielovgivningen og myndighedernes praksis gør det umuligt for en professionel og uafhængig presse at eksistere i Gambia. Der er ikke fri adgang til information, og statsmagten kontrollerer de landsdækkende radiostationer, myndighederne driver den eneste landsdækkende tv-station, og Gambias private medier kæmper imod skrappe restriktioner og intimidering. Journalister og redaktører chikaneres, og mediehuse lukkes.  Det har ført til en tradition for selvcensur blandt journalisterne og medierne i Gambia.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bPnrcvGiWDE&feature=plcp[/youtube]

Frygt for repressalier får selvcensuren til at blomstre blandt journalister i Gambia.

Mangler journalistisk uddannelse

Derudover har de fleste arbejdende journalister dårlige kompetencer i grundlæggende og videregående journalistik. En upræcis og overfladisk dækning af vigtige begivenheder og anliggender i det gambiske samfund er en af konsekvenserne. Dette forværres endvidere af niveauet på ledelse af mediehuse, redaktioner og layout kompetencer, og medieforvaltning generelt.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUIRshrQodQ&feature=plcp[/youtube]

Gambia har slet ingen journalistuddannelse, så behovet for uddannelse er enormt.

Mangler penge

Mangel på økonomiske midler til at drive mediehusene er en kæmpe forhindring i det journalistiske arbejde. Gambia er Afrikas mindste land og størstedelen af den voksne befolkning er analfabeter, hvorfor markedet for de trykte medier er meget lille. Samtidig er Gambia et af Afrikas fattigste lande, hvilket hæmmer annoncemarkedet, der ellers ofte er med til at finansiere journalistik.

Hvad forårsager disse problemer?

Der er flere årsager til de problemer den gambiske medier er oppe i mod, som – med tid og hjælp – kan imødekommes.

1: Der mangler kapacitet til videregående uddannelse af journalister og der findes ingen grundlæggende journalistisk uddannelse i Gambia. Kun en brøkdel af de arbejdende gambiske journalister har derfor en formel uddannelse i journalistik. 2: De gambiske mediefolk har hidtil været dårligt organiseret,hvilket har besværliggjort kampen om pressefrihed og en professionel journalistisk standard.
3: TV og Radio er domineret af staten. Skarp statslig kontrol gør det svært at introducere moderne journalistiske og presseetiske standarder. 4: De gambiske printmediers råderum er begrænset. Det er meget dyrt at lave en avis i Gambia, og der er få indtægter at hente hjem via annoncer og abonnementer.
5: Mediehusene og journalisterne i Gambia mangler telefoner, computere og kameraer for at kunne udføre et professionelt journalistisk arbejde.

 

Læs den internationale rapport og pressemeddelelse fra The Observatory for Protection of Human Rights Defend (OBS) fra 22 juli 2011 om situationen i Gambia: The Gambia – Climate of fear amongst the community of human rights defenders

The media situation in the Gambia

Since the Gambian President, Yahya Jammeh, as a young army lieutenant seized power in a military coup in 1994, the Governments censorship and control over the media have increased. In spite of the coup d’état, the poor African country has enjoyed relative political stability. Since 1994 Yahya Jammeh has won three multi-party elections, they have however been strongly criticised for being unfair and not free. The lack of press freedom is in sharp contrast to the ideals of a democratic society and a democratic election.

Censorship and harassment

The media legislation and the practice of the Gambian authorities make it impossible for a professional and independent press to exist in the Gambia. The State controls the only nationwide TV-station and the Gambian private media struggles against stringent restrictions and intimidations. Journalists and editors are being harassed and media houses are closing. This suppresses a free access to information and has led to a tradition of self-censorship amongst journalists and the media in the Gambia.

Lack of journalistic education

Furthermore, most working journalists have poor skills in basic and advanced journalism. The result is that the media do not provide accurate and in depth coverage of the important events and issues in the Gambian society. This is additionally aggravated by poorly organized newsrooms, poor editing and lay out skills in the media.

Lack of finances

A lack of financial resources to run the media houses is a major obstacle to the journalistic work. Gambia is Africa’s smallest country and most of the grown up population are illiterate. The market for print media is therefore very small. Additionally, being one of Africa’s poorest countries, the market for income generation through advertisements and subscriptions – which is a major form of income in the media world – is restricted.

What causes these problems?

There are several causes giving rise to the problems that the media in the Gambia are facing and can – with time and help – be accomodated.

1: There is no basic education in journalism or capacity and set up for mid-career and further training of working journalists in The Gambia. As a result of this, only a few of the working journalists have an educational background for their profession. 2: So far there has only been relatively weak organisational capacity for advocacy on professional standards and ethics, freedom and independency of the media and access to information in The Gambia.
3: The electronic media, as TV and Radio, is dominated by the state broadcast company. Strong government control makes it difficult to introduce modern journalistic standards and ethics. 4: The print media sector in The Gambia is very limited in scope. Production costs are high and the market for income generation (advertising, subscription and sale) is very limited.
5: Lack of finances and equipment to perform professional journalistic practice. The media houses in the Gambia lack basic equipment, like computers and cameras, to publish their stories.

Who works for freedom of press in the Gambia?

The Gambia union for journalists, Gambia Press Union, works for media development and freedom of press in the Gambia. That is why Gambia Media Support cooperates with Gambia Press Union.

Read more about Gambia Press Union and the partnership
Read more about the Danida funded Partnership Activity Project
Read the July 22 2011 International fact finding mission report and press release: The Gambia – Climate of fear amongst the community of human rights defenders