By Ebrima Ceesay
Alagie Yorro Jallow, co-founder and former managing editor of the banned Independent newspaper in the Gambia, has just published a highly recommended book on the Gambian Media.
The book will be officially released (available for sale) on 26th October 2013. The book cover, meanwhile, is attached here, for your information; and the price of the paperback edition is £19 dollars per copy.
Appropriately titled Delayed Democracy: How the Press Collapsed in the Gambia, the book has 250 pages and is by published by Author House, USA (www.authorhouse.com)
The study is scholarly, extremely well-researched, theoretically sound and clearly structured, with end notes, bibliographic references and acknowledgments.
And although it is a scholarly text, it is, all the same, easy to read and written with clarity. It is a very compelling and well-written account of how the Yahya Jammeh regime has, since 1994, continuously targeted freedom of expression and opinion in The Gambia, and passed draconian laws that have been used to stifle journalists, human rights defenders and government critics.
The book analyses the effect of President Yahya Jammeh’s takeover of the Gambia from a historical, political, and socio-economic context. It offers a useful and comprehensive contribution to the legal and political debate about freedom of expression—or more accurately stated, the lack thereof—in the Gambia. The study also proposes a theoretical framework specifically applicable to the Gambia, because the author maintains that the relationship between the Gambia and the media is in some ways unique. But there is a good balance between the theoretical material and empirical evidence, and this makes the study particularly refreshing. This is, by far, the best, most up-to-date, certainly fills (or closes) a major gap in the literature on mass communication and the press in Africa generally.
At the end of the book, the author offers useful suggestions for reforming the media in the Gambia. The author indicates that, above all else, lasting change in the Gambia can likely only be successful if the political climate in the Gambia shifts rather dramatically, or if the Jammeh regime shows signs of sensitivity to international political pressure. The author urges the government to repeal laws that inhibit freedom of expression, and ensure that both law and practice are in line with the standards enshrined in the human rights treaties to which the Gambia is a party to.
Alagie Yorro Jallow has written an excellent and relevant study that provides a well-documented insight into the deteriorating freedom of expression in the Gambia, as well as offer some helpful/useful
suggestions for effecting changes that could bring about improved human rights in the Gambia. The study will also prove a valuable source of reference for students, researchers and policymakers.
The author, Alagi YorroJallow, is currently a lecturer in Media Studies and Communication sat the Department of General Management, Martinde Tours School of Management and Economics, at the Assumption University in Bangkok,Thailand.