By: Aja Musu Bah-Daffeh
The Point newspaper on Thursday, 16 December, 2021 commemorated its 30th anniversary of media services in which they stood for freedom, democracy and justice despite all odds.
The event was attended by media dignitaries, including veterans, current practitioners as well as government officials. The event was also marked with remembrance of the late Deyda Hydara.
The Point is one of the major independent Gambian newspapers founded by Deyda Hydara and Pap Saine together with Babucarr Gaye on 16 December, 1991. However, Mr. Gaye is said to have resigned after 4 months. Mr Hydara and Mr Saine continued operating the paper until the unfortunate and unexpected demise of Deyda Hydara. These two individuals are known to be childhood friends.
During the first two years of its establishment, The Point newspaper came out every Monday and subsequently every Monday and Thursday.
In 1995, the paper came out thrice weekly, and then four times a week in 2001 (on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays). In 2006, the paper became a daily newspaper, the paper stated in its website.
Speaking at the occasion, the Co-Founder of The Point, Pap Saine, congratulated the entire staff for striving hard in ensuring that the paper is sustained and publishing credible and accurate information.
“Point stands to fight for justice, freedom and democracy and equally fought for rule of law and freedom of expression. And in this fight, Deyda Hydara stood firm in making sure these are realised and now his legacy remains as a freedom fighter. May his soul rest in perfect peace,” Mr. Saine said with profound gratitude.
Baba Hydara, the son of Deyda Hydara, recognized the efforts his father made in ensuring freedom of expression in the country. He said his father was a man of dignity and integrity and was fighting for freedom, justice and democracy.
However, he wished his mother Maria Hydara, a happy birthday and also thanked her for her unflinching contributions since replacing husband (Deyda) in managing the company after his demise.
Other Speakers including Demba Ali Jawo, Jainaba Nyang-Njie, Ebrima Sankareh, Pa Modou Faal expressed delight for the commemoration and equally recalled the good memories they shared with the Point’s Co-Founder, Deyda Hydara.
About Deyda Hydara
Born on June 9, 1946, Deyda was killed on December 16, 2004 by unknown gunmen. He was a co-founder and primary editor of The Point Newspaper as well as a correspondent for both AFP News Agency and Reporters Without Borders for more than 30 years.
Hydara was an advocate of press freedom and a fierce critic of the government of then President Yahya Jammeh who was openly hostile to Gambian journalists and the media. On December 14, 2004, the Gambia passed two new media laws. One, the Criminal Code (Amendment) Bill 2004, allows prison terms for defamation and sedition while the other Newspaper (Amendment) Bill 2004, require newspaper owners to purchase expensive operating licenses, registering their homes as security. Hydara announced his intent to challenge these laws, but on December 16, he was assassinated by an unknown gunman while driving home from work in Banjul.