Saturday, July 2, 2011

GRTS Boss:‘We Don’t Play With State House Matters

GRTS Director General
 Mr Modou Sanyang, director general of state-owned Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS) said, his institution does not play with State House matters, especially concerning the head of state.
GRTS boss made this remark yesterday while testifying against former GRTS reporter facing trial on charges of false information.
Mr Dodou Sanneh’s services at the state broadcaster were terminated in 2007 for ‘bias’ reportage while covering opposition-UDP’s 2009 presidential political rallies.
Mr Sanneh however said, his services were wrongfully terminated. His prosecution came when he petitioned GRTS management to the office of the president to the effect.
“His [Mr Sanneh] first termination was due to insubordination,” Mr Modou Sanyang testified at the magistrates’ court in Banjul yesterday.
He said, Mr Sanneh failed to submit report on a courtesy call he was assigned to cover at State house.
“I could not take that! We don’t play with State house matters, especially when it involved the head state,” GRTS boss told the court.

He said, the reporter was reinstate after many appeals, but dismissed again when he exaggerated in his reportage of opposition UDP’s  presidential rallies by saying that ‘tens of thousands attended it.’
Mr Sanyang said, journalist Sanneh was warned by Mr Kebba Dibba, a senior GRTS staff to present balanced reports. Sanneh however responded that he was the one on the ground.
“Following Dodou’s dismissal for the second time, he used to come to my office, but I told him that it was a management decision,” Modou Sanyang testified.
GRTS boss further told the court that he got a letter from the ombudsman regarding the termination of the services of the person, but he was unable to meet the ombudsman due to his poor health condition.
 “So it was difficult to meet the ombudsman in three years” the accused asked, but Mr Sanyang said, the ombudsman should be in a better position to answer that.
Mr Sanyang denied neither sending the accused to the National Intelligence Agency nor told him to withdraw the petition.
“What he told me was that he regretted the act and I was never pressurised by the ombudsman to advance reasons for his termination,” he adduced. Mr. Sanyang said he did not know whether or not the accused was detained by intelligence officers.
“I was not aware that you were detained and there is no record to show that,” he added.
When asked why no reason was advanced for the termination of services, Mr Sanyang replied: “your dismissal was due to your insubordinate behavior.”
The trial resumes July 5, 2011, but the presiding magistrate refused Mr Sanneh’s request to continue cross examination with his former boss at adjourned date.

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