Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Public Demand Explanation for The Closure of Taranga FM

Taranga FM boss, Mr Ceesay
Almost 12 solid days after Taranga FM was shut down, members of the public have demanded explanation from the Gambia government for shutting down the privately-owned community radio station at Sinchu Alagie.
Security officers reportedly from the National Intelligence Agency on Tuesday 14 August ordered the station to close down operation with immediate effect.
Taranga is the only radio station that reviews local newspapers both in English and local languages which attracted public attention, even though many attempts were made by the authorities to close it down.
“This is unaccepted”a tertiary teacher who wants to remain anonymous said. The media has the power to make leaders accountable and exercise good governance in accordance with the rule of law,” he said.
“ The station is looked at as an entity that will bring hope in today’s society settings but not to be harassed and humiliated. The government should come up with reasons for closing the station,” says a second-hand-cloth dealer.
Fansu Manneh said that the station was doing the right thing and they could not be treated as a criminal. “Taranga has a wide audience because they had built trust and we are proud of them,” he stated.
“It is unacceptable that the security officers stormed into the radio station and forced it off the air without any valid explanation. This act is another example of the intimidating tactics used in The Gambia to stifle the press and violate the right to freedom of expression. The arbitrary closure of Taranga FM is an undue interference in freedom of expression by the state and will deprive the Gambian public of their rights to access information, especially in local languages,” said FatouJagne-Senghore, ARTICLE 19 Regional Representative for West Africa.
HaddijaJawara, a Gambian Journalist, said she condemns the closure. “The only thing I can say about the closure is that I am sad and disappointed. The authorities should leave them alone to do their job,” she posited.
Information has become the utmost importance to many Gambians, especially the coming of Taranga FM local news broadcasting.
According to one Sainey Jarju, an old man in his 80s, said he could not tune into Taranga FM for the past week.
“Almost every day at 3pm, my family gathers under the tree to listen to the news in Mandinka,” he said, adding that Taranga was doing a great job.
According to Alhagie Ousman Bah, who is residing at Latrikunda ,the authorities should prioritize the interest of its people and stop shutting down the station anytime they feel like. “If the government is here for the people as they always say, then they should resurrect the station as soon as possible.”
Aminata Jallow of Nema Kunku and Hamza Silva expressed similar sentiments.
Author: Binta A Bah

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