Fatoumatta: The problem with many of these chaps in the media is confusing journalism with political activism. National security journalism just became a national security threat. Gambian Journalists must know how to balance the public’s need to know versus national security. There is a legal and ethical challenge of journalism and the national security crisis. It is unethical and unprofessional to broadcast, publish, and amplify national security issues and concerns. National security presents a significant challenge for today’s journalism when dealing with disclosures and how journalists should operate according to more conventional ethical codes to disseminate such information to the public. Socially and politically conscious journalists have been rightly alarmed at how rapidly hate-filled messages seep into and often overwhelm comments on social media. I think Gambian journalists need a code of conduct on their professional procedures – including how news is defined that may not amplify hate propagandists’ voices and national security and undermines national sovereignty.
Unfortunately, however, the media outlets purvey intolerance, serving as ideological spokesmen and cheerleaders for hate forces, from xenophobes to religious extremists relating to the advent of “fakenews” and its use as a weapon of asymmetric warfare. Gambian Journalism is under attack. The tension between the responsibilities of journalists and the prerogatives of government when dealing with national security issues and national sovereignty is exacerbated by a body of politics fortified by partisan certitude with unknown agendas.
Fatoumatta: You have probably seen something on social media, which I consider a parody of lie merchants against our country. So, the obstreperous person who lies at least 20 times a week. Some people hate their country so much that they tell a minimum of 20 lies against her every week. Furthermore, they use digital media, particularly the variant called social media. There, they have no checks, no balances. An ‘army of anything goes’ operates there. Now to that parody of lie merchants.
Moreover, I say Big Fat Lies, Big Fat Lies against the Gambia, and a President doing his honest best for the country. Furthermore, anybody loyal to the President also becomes a butt of lies, undue hatred, odium, misinformation, disinformation, opprobrium. When did journalism become a cocktail of lies? Moreover, to what end? Shame, big shame. No shred, not even a scintilla of evidence. Some people masquerading as journalists are just bent on throwing the country into turmoil. The more heinous the lie, the more it serves its evil purpose.
Moreover, do not think it is only inconsequential people behind these lies. Even serial election losers join the fray. When journalists masquerade as political activists speak, they tell themselves lies weekly. They express their natural language when they spew untruths. When some religious scholars and imams preach lies, they lie against the President and against the government he leads. Simply because they hate their country, hate the citizens, and even hate themselves.
Fatoumatta: “Silence is the best answer for a fool .”Silence is also said to be golden. Nevertheless, silence is a crime that should be pelted with unprovoked attacks. What type of ethical journalism convicts someone based on one-sided allegations from leaked but incomplete documents or so-called trusted sources that are not agenda-neutral, sources that are not ready to go on record? What kind of journalism takes allegations not proven beyond reasonable doubt as gospel truth? Not the journalism I was taught. For those who studied journalism in proper schools and not serving as political or ethnic propaganda outlets, I would like to have a proper debate on the principles, the mechanics, the theories, the laws, and the ethics of journalism. I am game. I have no business with agenda-pushers, bigots, and some of these emergency journalists. One funny character was lecturing about journalism without even respecting the elementary boundaries of defamation. Funny characters!
Knowledge governs ignorance. According to Madison (1968): “Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors, must arm themselves with the power that knowledge gives.” Media tyranny.
Fatoumatta: This latest act of media tyranny against the people is evidently contrived, not only to provoke the top flight cop but to evoke negative sentiments against people in the public domain. The mischievous report from certain journalists reminds one of the outbursts of John Swinton in a New York Press Club in 1953. Swinton was the Chief of Staff of the New York Times, and he was considered the dean of the journalism profession. He made this bold confession: “…The business of the journalist is to destroy the truth, to lie outrightly, to pervert, to vilify, to fawn at the feet of mammon, and to sell his country and his race for his daily bread… We are tools and vassals of rich men behind the scenes. We are the jumping jacks; they pull the string, and we dance. Our talents, possibilities, and lives are all the property of other men. We are intellectual prostitutes.” (Bill Hughes – The Secret Terrorist, pg. 126.)
Journalists certainly do not talk recklessly. Private media reports need to dust up their lesson notes on media law. As for goats, a license to practice journalism is not a license to destroy others and incite chaos. The holy scriptures say there is time for everything. For those who are afraid of journalists profiles, the masquerade does not remain masked for
Fatoumatta: One of the texts recommended for us in Journalism class was Enemy of the Public by the Norwegian writer Henrik Ibsen. The term Enemy of the People originated in Roman times as hostis publicus, which if translated directly means, ‘public enemy,’ someone acting against the larger group, indeed, against society. Get appointed or elected to serve in an elevated public position in The Gambia. You automatically face some odium, nay opprobrium. He has joined those who have come to steal our money. He has come to earn a fat salary. He will be taken care of from the public treasury while we have to slave and toil before we earn a living. He will be talking to us from a high horse, haughty and huffing, while we look like grasshoppers before him.
They never cared what you were and where you were coming from. Whether you came down several notches in your income to serve your country does not matter to them. Did you lobby for the job or not? It does not matter. The moment you get appointed into a government position, you are poised to become an enemy of the people. That happens to many people, and the information comes as a piece of virulent, hateful news. Again, the hatchet job masquerading as a news item added that I am convinced the President not to ever surrender the government’s sovereignty to politicians masquerading as activists or ‘Twitter warriors,’ masquerading as journalists, whatever that means. If it ever existed, any decent journalists would have checked and quoted the date and content of such a statement. However, the journalist from hell published lies against decent people and the country, not obeying the dictates of the noble profession. Moreover, because we are in the age of digital media, characterized by recklessness, people have begun to share evil, fake stories. The plot to turn people and institutions into an enemy of the people was in full motion.
Fatoumatta: But an equally large number of people refused to believe and continued to share and purvey the evil report. Why not? Some people revel in merely thinking the worst about others, and no superior argument would ever convince them. However, Barrabas, the murderer, was preferred against Jesus in Bible days. The Gambia needs saner and more professional journalists. Some raggedy reporters have now become journalists, a veritable danger to today and tomorrow, now leading journalists. Shame! Online journalism takes all sorts- the thief, the liar, the pimp, the pen assassin, and all sorts of villains. At the touch of a button, they attempt to set on fire. They set out to incinerate names, reputations, society, the country, and, if possible, humanity itself. Thy glory of journalism is slain upon the high places. How are the mighty fallen!
Fatoumatta: Why do I think people try to demonize those in government and bring them down? Many reasons. Evil hearts. The heart of man is sinful and desperately wicked. If you are in any form of the elevated position, they would love to see you fall. Man is in a fallen state, and the more they see you bite the dust, the happier they are.