Alagi Yorro Jallow
Today marks another year without you, Deyda. I would have loved to join the Gambia Press Union, family, and the Nation in remembering your outstanding contribution to the Gambia media landscape. I pray for God’s grace to abound in uplifting the spirits of your loved ones, and I pray that the Gambia will remember you with a profound realization that our collective aspiration and hope should not be allowed to die in vain.
We remember you, doyen Deyda. We are challenged by your sincere desire to see a better Gambia and definite freedom of the press. We have been robbed of a simple great man, but the seeds of trust you planted have found thrust in the ground. Sooner than later, the seeds will bud amid ululations and extravagant praises! Continue to Rest in Peace, Doyen.
Deyda Hydara epitomized journalism’s traditional values —accuracy, courage, independence, and integrity — that we seek to imbue in our Journalists. By honoring the Deyda Hydara legacy, we hope to instill in our Journalists the moral and ethical framework they will need to help them navigate a new digital era.
When Deyda and his executive members supported the idea of moving the Gambia Press Union from Banjul City Council conference chambers to its first offices at Fajara, he had one principle and one condition in mind. It needed to remain a professional journalism union, and ‘journalism’ needed to remain in training ethics and functional English to budding journalists.
Deyda’s vision directly affected the Gambia Press Union. Mandatory training for journalists is: ‘Ethics, Principles, and History of Journalism.’ This training explains and stresses the importance of the “Deyda Values of Journalism,” including objectivity, fairness, an obligation to the truth, and loyalty to citizens.
What is next?
For a Press Union that has accomplished so much, so rapidly, it can be not easy to imagine what the future holds for an institution like the Gambia Press Union. The question “What is next?” has so many possible answers. However, the Gambia Press Union journalism training center must deliver an answer. The best is yet to come.
The journalism profession has taken a beating in all political seasons. Furthermore, for good reasons, journalism suffers in the pursuit of ratings and clicks. Gambian journalism is also not at its best today. Journalists should abide by a canon of ethics expected of the industry and should be more widely read. Journalists’ voices can help maintain a modicum of a fledgling democracy.
In addition to the usual standards like truth, accuracy, fairness, and impartiality – reporters need to be creative. Journalists serve the public good, better sounding more like professionals. Journalists should have the latitude to do gymnastics with the English language. Readers & audiences deserved to enjoy a specific burst of skills, writings, analytical & creativity. All in the pursuit of getting the story is one thing Gambians do not perform at best.
Throughout its success, the Gambia Press Union should continue to keep both Dixon Colley, Swaebou Conateh, and Deyda’s vision relevant by teaching and training Journalists the importance of the fundamentals as well as giving journalists opportunities to witness and create the future of journalism, all while keeping that one question in the back of their mind: What would Deyda Hydara do?
Alagi Yorro Jallow