Saturday, December 18, 2010

Deyda's 6th Anniversary Commemorated - The Gambia

The sixth anniversary of the assassination Deyda Hydara, the former co-proprietor and Managing Editor of "The Point" was commemorated at the Tango conference hall in Bakau.

On December 16, 2004, Deyda Hydara was shot and killed by unknown gunmen while driving home from his office after the commemoration of the 13th anniversary of the founding of The Point. Every year media practitioners mark this day.

As usual the family marked the day by praying and reciting the Qur'an. Many relatives, friends, colleagues in the media and other well wishers were present to witness the occasion.

A public lecture on "The Impact Of The Internet On The Future Of The Newspaper" was delivered by Mr. George Christensen, the proprietor of Radio 1 FM, Banjul.

Mr Christensen said that the internet should not be seen as a threat but an additional source of spreading information. He called for newspapers to strive to integrate with the internet. He opined that that all newspaper establishments should look forward to having their own radio stations to operate alongside their newspapers for the sake of more effective dissemination of information and sustainability. He emphasised that with such arrangement in place there would be no need for radio stations to translate news from newspapers into the local languages as they can as well have reporters on the ground to be airing news of fair and factual reporting. He urged Media houses, especially newspapers, to widen their sources of news by sending reporters to the rural areas. He advised journalists to desist from what he called 'cut and paste journalism'.

Emil Touray, the Secretary General of the GPU read the statement from the GPU president Ndey Tapha Sosseh. The GPU president said Deyda's life is worth celebrating. She said we should all rejoice in the fact that he will always be remembered as a courageous, steadfast and committed journalist, one who ascribes to the singular pursuit of truth, justice, transparency and accountability. He died a hero and a martyr to the cause of a press freedom in the Gambia.

Ndey Tapha Sosseh said when we think about the heinous way in which he was murdered we are sad and our spirit dampened but that she finds solace in the fact that the intentions of those who brutally murdered Deyda have failed miserably in their evil design to silence the voice of truth. Their criminal act has in fact turned his voice into universal voice of truth and justice. She said this does not in any way stop the media fraternity from denouncing the fact that the perpetrators of this heinous crime are yet to be brought to book.

Mr. Pap Saine, the Director of The Point newspaper, dilated on the profile of Deyda Hydara, whom he said was his childhood friend. He revealed that the two of them commenced the operation of the first privately owned radio station in Africa, Radio Syd, in 1970. He further said that Mr Hydara was the correspondent of the news agency, Agence France-Presse (AFP) and Reporters Without Borders (RSF). He went on to say that in 1983 Deyda Hydara, Baboucarr Gaye (also belated) and he himself established a The Senegambia Sun, a weekly, and that Baboucarr Gaye was the editor; but that the paper was short lived. He added that, seeing the need to publish a tabloid, the three of them founded The Point in 1991, which he noted, is now a daily.

Mr. Saine also talked about the part played by Deyda Hydara in GPU, noting that he served as the GPU president for about 10 years. He added that Deyda was also the treasurer of WAJA for several years.

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