Archive for the ‘Press Freedom’ Category

Gambian Editor Behind Bar Over Political Defection

January 14, 2014

musa sheriffThe Editor of a private Gambian newspaper has been arrested by police in Sere Kunda on Monday morning. Musa Sheriff who publishes The Voice Newspaper  chief was whisked away by the police who escorted him to Sanyang police station in Kombo South where he is being held. 

According to confirmed sources, Mr. Sheriff is held in connection to a story he published in December 2013.  Mr. Sheriff originally hailed from Liberia but has lived in the Gambia for more than two decades.

The police went after him for publishing a story on the defection of 19 youths from the ruling Alliance for Patriotic, Re-orientation and Construction to the main opposition United Democratic Party. The defector were paraded at a UDP youth conference in Tanji, Kombo South last month. The aftermath of the conference culminated in mass arrest of opposition youths. One of the opposition youth leaders, Ebrima Solo Sandeng, is fighting for his freedom in court.

Mr. Musa Sheriff is currently languishing in Sanyang police cells pending his arraignment in court. Though it is not clear when Mr. Sheriff will appear in court, our sources said the police are on the verge of charging him for publishing false news.



December 29, 2013

Pa Nderry, Yanks Darboe, Et al., Please Listen


Yankuba Darboe, the NTCG's justice minister, in Paris on 10 October 2012

By Gambiano

Pa Nderry, Yankuba Darboe (Base) et al., please listen. If I address you by your nick names, you’ll both, perhaps, get my true identity and that will whomp a vow or purpose. Just consider this a live interaction I’m doing with you. So if the language sounds too informal, personal, or family, please be advised of the disclaimer. And you, the reader, this piece could be rated PG 25, okay—for these are folks I can address with abandon.

Also, it’s not my style to use pronouns ‘I’ and ‘Me’ because I’m too insignificant and poorly situated to draw attention to myself. But this is one of those jeremiads that can scarcely shun that. I don’t know about you, but I still love to be called, “Baa Doleh”, “Fuwaaro (Indigent)”, Fali Bayilaa (Donkey driver), or son of a poor farmer—not a “seasoned journalist”, or academician. I don’t even have a proud college degree.

But why this article? Your ongoing mudslinging heralds a chaotic post-Jammeh theater of ego gladiators, perhaps currently steeped in personal fables as to entertain thoughts of leadership or strategic positions of power. Please don’t offer tiny Gambia robes too Peloponnesian—attires too bellicose and premonitions too internecine, yet temperaments too ripe with mediocrity.

Yanks Darboe and Pa Nderry, you might be poles apart on the functionary spectrum as I type these. But did you realize you both share a thing too large to ignore? It’s called ‘ego’ with its avuncular “personal fable”, for a phrase. Usually, people that pique history’s attention fare very humbly. They prefer their silence to their speech, their calm to their stir, and their impact to their identity until providence calls otherwise.


Pa Nderry

Pa, neither Walter Cronkite, nor Peter Jennings would bear the chutzpah to say, “My Mexican or Black Brothers, you can come after me if you want…” blah blah blah! Not even your synonym, William Randolph Hearst would ditto. And there’s a high voltage reason I equate you to Hearst. There are words sentiments or emotion may force to the mouth that should never meet expression. I’m not a Mandinka or Wollof. I’m a Gambian, a human being, and a citizen of the world—period! So before I ask you to cut the crap, I’m not defending any tribe here.

But here’s my stance on tribe. Often do you hear only in Africa, especially Senegambia, “Mann domi Wollof peerrr laa!” (I’m a pure Wollof offspring), just like you often hear a Mandinka, Jola, Fula, or Njaago uttering the same nonsense. Well first of all, “Peerrr” isn’t Wollof, Jola, Fula, or Mandinka. It’s a derivative of French “Pur” or its English “Pure”. So, brothers, we can’t even speak our “pure” languages—how do we verify the pureness of our tribal lineages? Who can stand in the streets of Serrekunda, Banjul, or Jarra Soma and vaunt, “I’m a pure Mandinka or Wollof because all my forefathers never consorted with women of other tribes”? Don’t you forget how polygamous our ancestors were!

Pa, you might argue, “But I didn’t say anything tribally-offensive and I’m not tribalist.” Your words are, even if the intent was goodwill. I give you an example in the American context—can a Caucasian address a black person on any medium, “Hey Blackman, you’re very good-looking”? The intent in this sentence isn’t ill—the inference is, especially with the current Tea Party wave seeking forceful swash.

Brothers, the modern age is busy with inventions. And we are busy head-butting about tribes! How I wished I was in front of all of you right now—Pa Nderry, Yanks, and co. Look, I don’t know about you, but the world doesn’t care about Jolas, Mandinkas, Fula, Wollof, Njaago, Serere, or Serahule. They clump us into one lump—negroid, niggers, or dark skinned and dim-wits who can’t even solve hunger and starvation, let alone invent an iPhone or Samsung Galaxy! If anybody feels hurt with my words, please grab a big cardboard and scribble your tribe’s name on it and then wave it at cars and people passing in any street in Washington, Seattle, London, Paris, or Riyadh and then watch the reaction.

If you really want to weigh how shallow someone is, just pay attention to what they value. Prophets never clung to tribe—nor did sages, seers, philosophers, or inventors. Did Steve Jobs bellow his Syrian pedigree—or Bill Gates his Hellenistic rub-off? These guys accumulated so much while we were, and still are, busy placing premium on things as inefficacious to our cry as is a rain drop to an ocean.

Pa, please stop the ad hominem. I’ve never met Bamba Mass or Suntu Touray. So don’t think I’m taking sides. If we all resort to your style, Pa, you’ll go to bed crying any day I open my mouth. A word for the wise is enough and I hope you’ll heed this plea from a little brother. Yes, little brother and you know how little brothers are—they can address big brothers loosely, or throw stones and yet hide their hands. You won’t happen to remember how you used to call me almost every night, and sometimes confiding very serious personal information. I’ve kept those secret not because of you, but Allaah. And any day your enemies know them, they’ll build sovereign shrines of headlines! But I gave my word to Allaah: I’ll go to the grave with them, insha Allaah.

Just stop being too excited about being in America. Be humble, please. I thank you for that which you think you’ve achieved just like I thank you for the good job you think you’re doing. In all spheres of life, you’ve achieved very little, compared to some Gambians. But they’re humble. And please stop devouring obvious flattery.

Those Gambians that could have assumed journalistic functions on the international scene are somewhat preoccupied with other commitments. That’s one of the reasons Freedom Newspaper has been at the zenith of Gambia’s online stage of hearsay or better put, factoid and vignettes of score-mongering. But I give you credit for the devotion. You’re not a full-time or trained journalist, Pa. A degree in communication or PR doesn’t make anyone a journalist.

You see, Pa, Gambia has been behind for so long. We’ve been behind in sports, the arts, academics, etc. How many Gambians really graduated from journalism schools? Have you ever been invited at a press conference where you shared a platform with counterparts from other countries? I bet you won’t even whisper at any White House press briefing—will you?

But please meet journalists from Senegal, Nigeria, Cameroon, South Africa, etc, and see how less you know or can do. I don’t have time for ad hominem. But please work on your spoken and written English. It’s very likely you can’t even list and explain the eight parts of speech before reading this silly philippic. Nor do you seem to fathom subject/verb agreement (seventh grade grammar) considering how you write or speak. But has this made you any humble? Those respect humility who really know. And those are eager to show that they know who know not. Listen to Socrates, please:

As for me, all I know is that I know nothing…” Socrates

Thanks to the advent of Yahya Jammeh and his Nebuchadnezzar propensity, diaspora Gambians found a forum to purge sentiments legitimate or otherwise. And I thank Freedom Newspaper and all other fora for that. But Pa, your recognition only stays in that diaspora. Go to the streets in The Gambia and find out how many even know you. Even if Freedom Newspaper wasn’t blocked, please count how many Gambians have internet access and factor that into the electorate mass.

I could infer from one of your references to Yanks Darboe stating that whenever you’re interested in ruling Gambia, you’ll announce it. I can’t be sure if you wanted to reiterate the opposite—if not, please wait till Jammeh is no more and see if Gambians will look at you let alone vote for you. That’s why I phrased earlier, “personal fable”. The online community isn’t the whole Gambia. The equation can’t court a balance! Please gauge your fame or scope in The Gambia and find out. And how long have you been away?

Certainly there’s a poke at leadership you may harbor however faint it is. You did replay Yank Darboe’s tape to stratagem and pitched your cards well. Why did you significantly pick the segment saying, and I paraphrase, “Pa Nderry should be our leader”? The wise pose the axiom tersely that, “Day dreaming is a very bad habit.” Here’s a laser point, Pa. Work on parlance first. Seek wisdom, hygienic or chaste English (at least for the medium), and practice humility.


Yanks Darboe,

“Base”, just the nostalgia the nickname evokes conquers me! You were always a comedian.  You weren’t as personal with Pa Nderry as I was back in the days. But please, for the sake of the time we all spent together with Pa and many others, bury the hatchet. I can vouchsafe that Pa was never a tribalist—at least not during the time he spent with us. If you say he now bears a slippery tongue, that I may agree. And if you say he glibly makes statements, that I’ll purchase as well. When he arrived in America, I used to tell him not to be too excited.  (As if I knew what such could lead to) ‘Base’, all humans are signatories to weaknesses and flaws. I love it when people inform me of mine. Here’s yours if you would kindly resist thinking I’m being too uncharitable: Attention freak and ego marketer! Now don’t feel bad. You were my pal so I can tell you anything. Here’s what may please thee: You weren’t like this pre-UK. Like Pa Nderry, don’t be too excited about abroad. Gambia is sweeter than abroad except for Yahya Jammeh’s defiance of reason. Just few weeks ago did I stand at the old Observer premises and almost shed tears. All of you swarmed to memory as the fit of retrospection charged. I still have a photograph of us in my custody which you will seriously love to see. Base, you were such a lovely pal with a rare sense of humor. Please don’t let that fallow.

Any really successful Gambian won’t easily trumpet his presence anywhere. Why? Because we’ve not finished helping Gambia yet, let alone Africa. Let me break that down: If I go to Wall Street and treat barons to my feat, that’s a bit more comfortable than doing the same with Gambians or Africans who need our help and pity—not our pomp. So, who are we marketing our clout, success, or ego to—especially when we go on air? Certainly, the Rothschild’s would seriously deign to take a sneak peek at these—and that is, if they give a hoot!



Both Pa and Yanks, please utilize your Facebook pages, Kibaaro and Freedom and exchange pleasantries. We all make mistakes. I’ve said this before and will repeat: Our current political divide and its tempo carry a curious exponent not commensurate to Gambia’s population, size, and demographics.

Quite a popular WAEC question used to go, “Coalition tends to disintegrate when the common enemy is removed, discus”. This was about Napoléon I and the concert against him (Verona, Troppeaux, & Aix La Chappeles) in pre-1830 revolutions in Europe. The common enemy here isn’t Napoleone. It’s Yahya Jammeh. And this common enemy isn’t even removed, yet coalition tends to disintegrate. Now imagine what will happen when he’s removed!

So may I end with “Those who don’t learn from bad history often repeat it.”


Is This Not Another Malicious Way Of Relaying Information?

December 25, 2013

Sulayman Nyassi  I woke up to the news that our comrade Lasana Jobarteh was unlawfully paraded in court and foolishly charged with bogus charges as relayed by one of our renowned and rising stars in the business of journalism, Fabakary B. Ceesay. He is a very brave, young and talented journalist who went all out to risk his life to investigate about those who got killed or mysteriously disappeared in within the Fonis, including Jammeh’s own family members. He scarified his life to let us know the truth surrounding many of Jammeh’s atrocities committed in the Fonis and are all well documented so kudos brother Ceesay, we salute you as well. 

I read his posting on his Facebook wall and couldn’t believe that the Jammeh administration will yet stoop this low over again to dare prosecute an innocent man, for simply exercising his constitutional rights. Clearly, it is yet another display of the lack of intolerance, rule of law in our motherland but above all, it goes to further expose the brutal nature of the globally rejected regime of the Jammeh administration.

To all those who misunderstood my worries and outburst with regards to our dear brother, editor Pa Nderry M’bai should please follow me for the last time, as I was shocked to see him doing all that we confronted him about with even more malicious intent.  I will explain clearly why I draw such a conclusion.

Following the report from our brother B. Ceesay who posted it on his Facebook page, Freedomnewspaper took the story and republished it and further went on to add very implicating stuff. I want  you to revisit the article carefully and be your own judge.

Pa Nderry put it in this own way by first reporting exactly that “Lasana Jobarteh is charged under the information act for broadcasting using Skype through an iPod without license. He pleads not guilty. Darboe is applying for bail,”Fabakary B. Ceesay reported. The case is being heard in court at this time. Will keep you posted. Here he started his spin on it by promising us that he is aware of the ongoing court case and therefore, we will be informed in due course. Fine brother, as expected of you.

Now folks, Mr editor M’bai went on to add his spices and herbs on it with pure heart feelings by adding this to the story line, saying that, “It would be recalled that Freedom radio’s coverage of the opposition rally was facilitated with the help of Lasana Jobarteh, who uses Ousainou Darboe’s Ipad to relay the opposition meeting through our airwaves. He logged on Darboe’s personal Skype account to be able to stream the meeting live on Freedom radio”.

It will be recalled he started with, as if we the public were there when he made arrangements to air the rallies and not only that but he seems to be violating his own code of conduct. It is evident that he is selling out our comrades on the ground and in the same struggle by further authenticating, revealing and willingly and covertly, supplying information to the repressive regime, knowing that such can, will or maybe used to implicate innocent people. Over the years, he directly and indirectly helped the regime to victimise so many people of our beloved nation.

Yes he did a wonderful service to our people as well but equally, he caused many families to cry, for losing their bread winner and he does it, brag and laugh about it so Pa Nderry must not be immune from any criticism hence he is clearly playing with the lives of our people as if he is acting a horror movie. Pa is even more than happy to tell the NIA WHO and HOW he covered the rallies and yet he is a professional journalist? Is he protecting his source of information here? Is that not a clear violating of confidentiality and all code of conduct as a journalist?

Pa, I know you must have been fuming that Jobarteh was arrested and released without Darboe being arrested as well hence you clearly have a big agenda against the UDP and its leadership because otherwise, why will you be revealing all the above information as to who did what and how it was done? I find your coded messages very Pathetic and sickening but many do now know your true face in the struggle because you have become another Jammeh on both sides of the corners of the world to the point that you brag about being the most feared Gambian. Good on you mate but what you wish to see may befall on your very head brother.

I thought you would have learnt from your own mistakes but it is now clear that you did it all this years with pure malice, hatred and jealousy. I personally once thought high of you but the more I scrutinised some of your write ups, the more disturbed I become and that is how we got here brother. Like I said, I will take this opportunity to publicly challenged you and your praise singers for a clean, free, fair and balanced debate to iron things out still just to proof my case to all and show you that on a level, I have no beef with you at all but the way you think and flow in writing your articles must be revisited for many are falling victim because of your gullibility, naivety or irresponsible behaviour as a supposedly professional journalist.

We all now know your impudent nature and is no difference with that of your boss in the game of rudeness, Jallow Kanilia. Pa Nderry Mbai, do please revisit your mail on FB and see the messages I sent you on the day the monster brought your parents on GRTS. You know full well that I, like many people took the time out to comfort you not only privately, but went all out to defend you against any negative vibes in public as well but If you can now be shamelessly sitting in your comfort home in the US, raining insults on our elders will only goes to reaffirm to me that, all that your parents have said may as well be considered to be true hence only a cursed child will dare to disrespect our elders in the manner and fashion you doing brother.

Any Gambian blessed enough, wouldn’t be disrespecting our elders in this trial times. Remember that your grandfather came to the Gambia and established a solid relationship with the very people you now insulting today. It is like listening to Jammeh ranting and insulting us all as a nation brother. Do you have to stoop this low after all you’ve already done in the struggle to become someone in our nation’s history, post Jammeh era? Whoever is telling you to attack tom, dick and harry are only misleading you because our focus should be our common enemy brother Mbai and you know better than stoop way low below your expected standards as a professional Journalist in the struggle.

Please brother, is time to wake up to reality my friend and realise that a website, radio and sources are not the end of this world and many have it well before you came to the US and none have ever used it to get people in trouble like you are still doing. Pa Nderry, do please always remember that  Jammeh will soon become history and remember that, we’re all in this struggle together so do reason well with yourself because you do seriously need advisers who will not praise you all day and night but tell you the harsh reality at all times.

Frankly speaking, that is what you lack hence no one can tell you anything because you own your newspaper and radio, which is sad but please brother, listen to the voices telling you the truth out of good will and principles based on honesty and brotherly love. Time to change your ways brother for the life’s of our people is not for sale nor for fun.

In the service for Humanity,

Sulayman Shyngle Nyassi/UK


Any Answer to Our Nine-Year-Old Question?

December 18, 2013

By Baboucarr Ceesay

deydaWho killed Deyda? This famous nine-year-old unanswered question that the media fraternity of The Gambia has indefatigably been asking since 2004 to date breeds the question: “Any answer to our nine-year-old question?”

On December 16, 2004, Deyda Hydara was shot by gunmen who are yet to be brought to justice and the state did not yet carry out any thorough investigation to unveil the truth about this cowardly killing. His killers have smeared the image of our country and have also deprived Gambians of a man who could have served his country longer for the attainment of a better democratic system.

Hydara has a journalistic knack in pushing the agenda for accountability and transparency in the country.

No government will be applauded for ignoring or refusing to dig into the death of a citizen who upheld his fellow citizens’ right to know by living for the promotion of Freedom of Expression and Freedom of the Press which he also died for.

Hydara as a martyr

He went through sleepless nights to keep The Point newspaper on the newsstand with his colleagues for thirteen years. He is not just a hero whose portray should be hanged in our media offices and houses but make sure his death is not in vain. Any of us who know Hydara must be inspired by his passion for journalism and the power of his philosophy of the job earned him the love of many young media practitioners.

He was a man who had no time to make enemies but stood firm against draconian approaches of the state in handling matters affecting journalists and journalism in The Gambia, especially the private media. He was not a cheap ‘yes man’ of the system. As a believer of a “No” that protects citizens’ right to free expression and the rights of journalists to freedom of the press in order to defend the public’s right to know, he challenged the Media Commission Bill and wove to relentlessly continue to be firmer against any effort to strangle rights. He lived his words and died as martyr.

He tried to keep the government on its toes in columns of The Point, ‘Good Morning Mr. President,’ ‘Horomsi’ (Wolof for the salty thing) and ‘The Bite.’

His courage was exceptional and his conscience clear, for he has been a big sort for his country. Nine years is too much for the media fraternity, friends and the family of Deyda to cry in sotto voce, hence the crying out and the long loud call for an answer. Who killed Deyda?

Need for investigation

When I watched the memorial service of Nelson Mandela on TV being graced by leaders across the globe, the attendance of our head of states induced me to ask: “What is the raison d’être of attending the memorial of a man who fought for his country’s salvation from apartheid, while our president leave the Gambia with unsolved matters like Deyda Hydara’s death?”

If the Gambia Police Force can team up with Interpol to investigate the killing of a Briton in the country and brought the perpetrator to justice why not the assassins of Deyda.

Anyone has the right to call on the state to investigate thoroughly and bring the criminals to justice. Steering the affairs of a country is not a trivial responsibility. The rights of all citizens and residents should be protected much more the right to life which is enshrined in all laws, except the law of the jungle. Human life should be respected.

I agree that cattle are somehow more important than human being in The Gambia, because security officers have investigated and apprehended cattle rustlers in several part of the country including the borders, whiles the killers of journalist Deyda are gone scot free.

The state should investigate and break its silence on the assassination of Hydara. Media practitioners both at home and abroad, colleagues, friends and family want to know who killed him.

Anyone who has evidence including the government should come forward and clear the doubt of the world so that justice can be done in the soonest possible time. Gambia should not remain a country where people can be killed and the killers get away with it.

All those who know anything about the killing of Deyda should come as they will be pioneers in shedding light on an unsolved matter that the whole world is interested to know. Anyone who voluntarily comes forward to give reliable information with evidence of Deyda’s assassination will be championing a cause for justice.

Even the perpetrators should be able to come out as it is expected that they can have more evidence than anyone due to their role in the whole ploy.

Cowardice should end now for the truth must triumph.

The justice Gambians deserve

We deserve justice, because as Gambians we have created a good image for the country which earned her the name Smiling Coast.

Gambians have been known for their peace loving nature, which gross human rights violations can masticate and metamorphose many of our brothers and sisters into criminals and retaliators. In a society where killers do not face punishment for theirs crime to be either reformed or deterred from the action, the serial killers continue to be killers and the victimized population can be avengers.

Impunity breeds a jungle-like society. When human beings give ways to heartless tendencies, they become worst than beasts.

Baboucarr Ceesay is the current Vice President of Gambia Press Union (GPU), freelance journalist cum human rights activist. He is the publisher and editor of Gambia Watchdog online newspaper.

Gambian-born US Mayor Recollects Gambia’s Sweet Days

December 9, 2013

Mayor CeesayThe Gambian born Mayor of Oklahoma city of Glenpool has granted an exclusive interview with Kibaaro Radio. Momodou Ceesay’s almost two hour interview touches on everything, including his personal struggles, recollection of the Gambia’s sweet days under People’s Progressive Party and the use of siko [two-sided Mandinka drum] as a means of disseminating political messages and entertainment.

The traditional drum played a key role in the struggle for independence. It also added meaning and flavor to party politics, especially for the PPP. “Siko is a Mandinka musical gathering which brings a whole lot of people together to communicate messages and people will dance,” Mayor Ceesay recalled. Weekly siko and wrestling matches were very common and provided happiness for people at the time.”

Mayor Ceesay also made a recollection of a time when “our country was the example of human rights, the rule of law, democracy, freedom of expression and family cohesiveness; we are all one big family. We are Gambians first and treat each other as brothers; we camp out without being worried about anything bad. My upbringing in the Gambia was just awesome.”

The first son of Alhagie Yaya Ceesay, a former minister and parliamentarian in the PPP regime, recounted his joyous summer holidays in Sankwia in Lower River Region.

Mr. Ceesay, the first Black mayor of a city that is 99.5% White, followed the footsteps of his father. “My father saw me as his carbon copy,” he said, describing his father as “people’s politician” who has never ceased to help those in need. Alhagie Yaya took care of many people who later held important positions in the government. “He always believes in helping less fortunate people,” Mayor Ceesay said, saying he was surprised to see police officers stopping and saluting his father for his role in the struggle for the Gambia’s independence and shaped the country’s future.

Mayor Ceesay took a swipe at dictatorship back home. “Any society that oppresses its people stays behind; any society that enriches its people prospers,” Ceesay said. “The systems are in place in the Gambia and my recent visit is a true testimony to that. Every office we go, people are ready to help you.”

He however said dictatorial rule is hindering the Gambia’s progress. He wanted President Yahya Jammeh to see himself as the steward who is mandated to do anything that will better people’s lives. “He needs to provide good roads, electricity, and freedom as well as allow people to do commerce without interference. I am really disappointed that Gambian people are doing well but the government is not there to help Gambians out,” he said, saying “the role of government is not to oppress people but to provide essential services and improve the quality of life. Gambia needs to take lessons from Nelson Mandela. Nothing lasts and that we need to learn from history.”

Mayor Ceesay urged African leaders to follow the bright legacies of Nelson Mandela, the unifying figure who teaches South Africans about true democratic lessons.

Mr. Ceesay compared himself to Africans who traveled abroad in search of their dreams. He praised Gambians for excelling in their careers, loyal to their country and family-oriented. “Every Gambian has a desire in contributing to our society,” he says. Mayor Ceesay defines himself as a “Gambian who came here with an empty suitcase, managed to educate himself, set up a business and now the Mayor of Glenpool.” His story has become a source of pride for his children who have been inspired to do better than their father.

Mayor Ceesay’s interview, done in English and Mandinka, is being streamed on Kibaaro Radio.


Gambian Journalist Omar Bah Publishes Book

December 4, 2013

Africa's Hell on EarthOmar








Omar Bah, a Gambian journalist who was tortured, declared ‘WANTED’ and eventually forced into exile for speaking up against injustice in his native Gambia, has written about his experiences in the memoir, ‘Africa’s Hell on Earth: The Ordeal of An African Journalist.’ The book chronicles Bah’s escape journey from the Gambian regime in 2006 with compelling anecdotes about the repressive environment in his native country, descriptions of African village life and traditional narratives that make the book a powerful read. The book takes the reader through Bah’s journey from Senegal to Ghana before eventually receiving assistance from the U.S. government and non-governmental organizations to resettle as a refugee in the state of Rhode Island in May 2007.

In Rhode Island, Bah reunited with his wife two years later and they now have two sons and live in their home in Providence. Omar is the UNHCR Refugee Congress representative of the state of Rhode Island in which he is also a member of its governing board, Refugee Congress Advisory Board (RCAB). He has worked in housing and finance corporations and spearheaded local advocacies on refugee and immigration issues both at state and national level. He regularly joins the Refugee Congress delegates in Washington, D.C. to lobby Congress on important policy issues. Together with fellow Rhode Island-based refugees, Omar founded the Center for Refugee Advocacy and Support (CenRAS), a Rhode Island based organization through which former refugees support newly arriving refugees.

Omar holds a BA in Communication Studies with a minor in Political Science from the University of Rhode Island, before proceeding to pursue a master of Public Administration from Roger Williams University, and further graduate school at the Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology (MSPP). In May 2013, he graduated with a certificate from the Harvard Program in Refugee Trauma.

Omar’s book is set for official launch early in 2014 but readers can pre-order advanced copies from the Publisher’s website:

Gambian Journalist’s Book Gets Publisher’s Approval

November 27, 2013

Delayed Democracy

A book authored by a respected Gambian journalist, Alagi Yoro Jallow, has got the approval of a notable publisher.

AuthorHouse agreed that Delayed Democracy: How Press Freedom Collapsed “presents up-to-date study on the state of Gambian media.”

The publishing house praised Alagi Jallow, a founder managing editor of the banned Independent newsper, for “providing valuable insights into the deteriorating freedom of expression in Gambia and offers suggestions for effecting changes that could improve human rights in the West African country in his revelatory new book.”

The masterpiece goes beyond telling the Gambia’s journalism history but also provides an avenue for research for all those who are not au fait with the West African country’s media history.

“Jallow analyzes the effect of President Yahya Jammeh’s takeover of Gambia from a historical, political and socio-economic context,” AuthorHouse said in a press statement, adding that “the book offers a useful and comprehensive contribution to the legal and political debate about freedom of expression – or, more accurately stated, the lack thereof – in Gambia.”

The publisher is also thumped up the several award-winning journalist for discussing “the media in the Gambia and the crucial role it plays in shaping a vibrant, healthy democracy. He evaluates the role of the news media in Gambia in a variety of contexts: the major constraints and challenges that prevent journalism from fulfilling these ideal roles, and the most effective policy interventions available to strengthen the contribution of the news media to both democratic governance and human development.”

The book 250-page book is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Alagi Jallow is well-known and respected for his research, presentations and journalism and is the co-proprietor and managing editor of the banned Independent, a newspaper he founded in the West African state of Gambia. He is a two-time recipient of the prestigious Hellman/Hammet award administered by Human Rights Watch for persecuted writers. In 2003, he was a runner-up for the World Association of Newspapers’ Golden Pen Award. In 2005, he received the International Press Freedom Award presented by Canadian Journalists for Free Expression for “his uncompromising and fearless efforts to promote press freedom in Gambia, despite numerous obstacles.” The fearless media manager, who championed the fight for press freedom back home, is now a lecturer at the prestigious Assumption University in Bangkok.