Many young journalists have bitterly complained about the way the Gambia Press Union (GPU) executive handled the affairs the journalist union. Another issue of concern to the attendees of the GPU is the unavailability of enough seat at the congress hall today. In this article below, a whistle blower thought it was about time somebody sounded the bell.
Gambia Press Union is indeed sinking, as this very important media body seems to be rolling into the grave. This is evidenced by the way and manner the outgoing executive has managed its affairs. Apart from being accused of gross financial indiscipline, the executive is also punched for unfairly treating its members some of who are living with anger.
According to a GPU document entitled ‘News Print Project Account’, an amount of D440, 000.00 aims to help media houses to have printing papers at a cheaper rate. Media houses so far owed the union D203, 456.00. GPU President Bai Emily Touray who would not come clean on the arrears only told Gambia Affairs that media houses are owing the union a lot of money.
This forces me to find out which of the media houses are making the GPU cash-strapped.
It was revealed that The Standard, The Daily News and The Point are respectively owing the union D150, 000, Daily newspaper D50, 000 and The Point D3, 456.
Interestingly, none of the purported debtors would accept liability. The Standard Managing Director Sheriff Bojang simply asked Mafugi Ceesay, “Do you know how much GPU is owing me?”
The Proprietor of The Daily News Madi Ceesay also did not accept owing the union. “We did not owe GPU a butut at the time of our closure. We are paying cheques every week to Lamin Njie who by the time was the one responsible of our printing”, he said.
It is so unfortunate that the GPU President Bai Emil Touray is now shifting blame on Lamin Njie, I think as a good leader he should take the responsibility because he is the head of that institution, Madi added.
The Point Newspaper denied owing the union a dime. The paper’s Managing Director Pap Saine said he was not aware of owing the GPU anything.
Apparently, some of the hidden secrets have now been exposed, leaving people to draw a line between the fact and fiction.
Just last September, the union denied The Voice Newspaper access to printing for being in arrears of D500. Considering the way and manner the union is being run under Bai Emily Touray one would tend to ask if the GPU belongs to a group of people. How can you keep mute over the huge arrears of the three newspapers and at the same time deny another printing for merely owing you a token? “Is that what is called representing the interest of all media houses?” asked a concerned journalist.
Many Gambian journalists thought that organising a congress at a time when many questions remain unanswered was a bad idea. They preferred a proper accountability of the union’s finances and assets should have been given greater priority. “Most of us want to know what has gone wrong during the tenure of the current executive,” another journalist said.