THE 40 MILLION DALASI MEDIA CONTROVERSY

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Invitation conveyed to the print media houses by the newly appointed minister of information Dr Ismaila Ceesay did not end without information filtering that 40 million dalasi has been set aside to encourage seven media houses and content producers to promote government agenda.

It is important for the seven media houses and content producers involved to give an explanation on the terms established by the government for receiving any monies allocated to their media houses.

It is the requirement of the Constitution that every year the minister of finance would submit the estimates of revenues and expenditure of the following financial year. It is the National Assembly that must approve the estimates and then pass the Appropriation Bill that will eventually become the law governing the collection of revenue and the provision of services to the public.

It is such law that must be monitored by the National Assembly and the society as a whole to ensure implementation and prevent abuse.

Foroyaa will conduct an investigation on whether there was any attempt by the National Assembly to approve an allocation of 40 million dalasi to the media entities selected by the government.

The media houses irrespective of any source of financing must respect and observe section 207 subsection (3) of the Constitution which states:

“The press and other information media shall at all times, be free to uphold the principles, provisions and objectives of this Constitution, and the responsibility and accountability of the government to the people of The Gambia.”

Needless to say, all media houses of The Gambia should be interested in informing the public what the ministers or ministries are doing rightly or wrongly on their behalf. They should also accommodate divergent views and dissenting opinions on what the government and other state institutions are doing.

Since media houses are paying taxes to the state, the state is also duty bound to provide resources without any discrimination to media houses to enable them to disseminate information to the public.