President Barrow’s Unique Opportunity

In response to the article Halake’s London Letter: Is CDS Badjie In Charge of the Gambia, Bax wrote the following below

1. President Barrow has a unique opportunity to put a marker down and send a clear message to all officials, particularly the armed and securiry forces: institutions that have been key to the 22yrs of repressive rule, that impunity and disregard for the rule of law has no place in a Gambia that he leads;

2. CDS Badjie should be relieved of his position (as CDS) immediately, and the matter should be investigated by the Police to establish the truth, identify the culprits, determine the extent to which each is complicit and culpable, and prosecute, where evidence supports a case for prosecution.

3. The victim should be compensated by the state (as alleged culprits are state agents) and all costs towards his treatment and rehabilitation should be paid for by the Armed Forces or Defence Dept. and those found guilty should be surcharged to recover all costs;

4. Foroyaa is not guilty of mis-education because their reportage has adequately informed the public about this incident, without indulging in sensationalism.

Sensational journalism and reporting can breed unwanted situations, especially in a country like ours, that has just emerged from two decades of repressive rule (with the current CDS being a key player) and is undergoing a fragile transition period;

I honestly don’t see the need for the graphic details of the event as carried in the report by Sam Phatey, or their relevance in informing the public. I think such sensationalism is dangerous for our new democracy because it has the potential to arouse public reaction that could lead to civil strife.

Foroyaa’s reportage is therefore appropriate, as it has adequately informed the public, in a measured and responsible way and has carried enough information for anyone wishing to pursue the matter further to be able to do so.



  1. Hey Bax , I disagree with your view on foroyaa report of the story . I think foroyaa should have informed its readership about details information based on facts so that people can make their own judgement. But it is part of systematic reporting of foroyaa to give generalization without being specific or detail in what they report . Such was their practice during the repressive rule of Dictator Jammeh despite the fact that foroyaa was the only media which was given basic freedom to operate freely in the country. We do not need half truth but we need full truth from the media. In this new era , journalists should report full truth based on facts . I commend Mr Sam phatey for excellent report.
    There is no sensationalism in giving full detail information about the misconduct and human rights violations of General Badgie. The public deserves to know detail information of his irresponsible behavior so that right actions will be taken but foroyaa refusal to give detail information tantamount to suppression of information which violate basic principles of journalism ethics . Thus foroyaa denied the public to know adequate and right information.

    • Max… I will leave you with the able Dawda, but before I do so, here is an observation:

      If you think a reporter who is reporting a gruesome and sadistic murder should include every bit of the crime scene in his or her report (including what body parts were severed and how they were done,etc), then you need to see your GP asap..

      I am very serious because your sense of protection for the general public, especially the young, from vile and offensive imagery, should be considered seriously impaired if you think as I mentioned above.

      Journalism is not only about informing and educating, but doing so in a responsible, sensible, measured and legitimate manner.I hand you over to able Dawda.

  2. Max Are you the School Master or Principal of Halifa Sallah/PDOIS & Foroyaa?

    You are always right and they are always wrong; observed in your intervention on any topic, thread or issues?


    • Dawda , thank you for your view . Once again I just want to point out that I do not have any personal hatred , malicious agenda for Pdois leadership or foroyaa , neither am I looking for cheap publicity. I made my independent view on the current irresponsible behavior of General Badgie and how foroyaa reported the story. I think it is fair to say that foroyaa did not give full detail information about the story contrary to what was reported in other media outlet such as the one reported by Mr Sam phatey . That is the issue under discussion but not personal attack or to accuse me of being arrogant or malicious to them . I have made my observation about how foroyaa newspapers operated over the years during military dictatorship. They should continue to give clarity and be specific in their reportage . You must remember that same people who run foroyaa, also run PDOIS. So there is similarity in operational procedures and expressions of views in the two entities. This is the fact you should try to understand. Let us be open-minded and try to criticize what we support so that we can continue to make meaningful progress. Self evaluation or criticism can lead to adjustment of behavior or better performance.,So in this case , I would encourage you to start asking yourself or foroyaa, what they should keep doing , what they should start doing and what they should stop doing . I feel like foroyaa should start to give detail information about their stories and should stop self censorship or what I will call selective reporting. The good thing they should keep doing is to continue to be the voice of voiceless despite few errors they made . Dawda , this is the way forward for our country. Mr Sallah or foroyaa are not perfect, likewise myself because I made so many mistakes. Let your heart not be troubled by my Independent view.

  3. Dormu Rewwum Gambia (aka Luntango Suun Gann Gi)

    Bax, Bax, what is “sensational” about FOROYAA replacing “senior officer” with CDS??!! They knew it was CDS. So why the cover-up?? Why “senior officer”!! I was MISLED when I read the original story, because I thought it was only a “senior officer”. Surely Bax, there is a world of difference – and FOROYAA did cover-up … and “mis-educate” its readers!

    • Dida , Bax mischaracterized the whole story and as a disciple, he defended foroyaa despite the fact that he knew foroyaa embarked on censorship or refusal to give accurate story .

      • Point of observation!

        Foroyaa’s report of the incident cannot be construed to “mis-educate” its readers and please take note.

        CDS Badgie is a “Senior Officer” = A FACT

        The incident came at a critical tense political situation and crises, so Foroyaa can issue a rejoinder why CDS Badgire’s name was concealed (by Editor) when the report of incident published.

        Please find out more from Foroyaa or draw their attention to observations on the report published and any criticism; for more facts?

  4. My-in-law…

    Foroyaa may have known who the senior officer was, but chose not to mention it for good reasons, I guess. My contention is that the failure to identify the senior officer in the report did not amount to misinformation or mis-education of the readers about the incident. I think it was responsible journalism, especially under present circumstances in The Gambia.

    Moreover, I often hear reports of crimes on news broadcasts on the BBC, that run as follows:

    “A 42 year old man has been arrested in connect of xxxxx”;

    “A senior Tory/Labour is under investigation for xxxxx”

    The Police or investigators in these cases know the persons in custody or under investigation, but keep their identities hidden from the public. Would you consider this to be misinforming or mis-educating the public ? I hope not.

    I think keeping the identity of suspects secret until they are found guilty in a court of law is ethical journalism. The damage to a person’s reputation for allegations that are later found to be unsubstantiated or false can be irreparable. The allegations against the CDS are just allegations and even if he had partially acknowledged the allegations, he should still be viewed as innocent until proven guilty. That’s my view..

    Come on my in law, sensationalism is presenting a news item in a way that is intended to shock or generate more than the usual level of interest in a story. Wouldn’t you agree that mentioning CDS, the hose pipes and brandishing of a pistol (which CDS denied) does just that : shock and generate more interest than would normally be expected ?

    I don’t think omitting these pieces of hyped news denies the public from accessing adequate information about the incident and therefore, including them in this news report amounts to “sensationalism”, in my view.

    • Sound argument!

      • Bax and Dawda , since I have known you in this forum , you are mostly on the wrong side of every debate. You are never with the majority citizens, this includes how coalition should be formed that is nomination of presidential candidate through convention, peaceful protest for electoral reform, to ECOWAS Military intervention , and now foroyaa refusal to report right information. In each of these issues ; you do not support political convention,but you supported primary election , you called peaceful protest a “distraction “, you do not support ECOWAS Military intervention even though it was clear to you that Jammeh will never leave power without a threat of military intervention. Now you are again defending foroyaa refusal to reveal the identity of General Badgie in their report. I have seen a pattern in all your debates. Left to you guys , jammeh would be drinking tea daily at statehouse and having sex with young vulnerable girls. Bax , you even sympathize with Jammeh and his family, I suspect you have no problem when he went with millions of dollars because you claimed that those were mere allegations. Now it is clear to you that President Barrow inherited a bankrupt country, I wonder whether you still admit that Jammeh has done daylight robbery in front of world cameras and shipped million dollar cars into exile . I am not starting any fight here but I just wanted to point your previous positions .

    • @Bax, ”A senior Tory/Labour is under investigation for xxxxx” News like this political, on bbc, won’t leave that politician’s name off the broadcast. Journalists are not legal practicioners to pass everything they deem news before a court of law before their publications. Public figures and personel have it just incumbent upon themselves to come out to the public and clear the air of false news or resign.

  5. I think, reporting a crime committed by and within the civilian populace, and those committed by public figures within the public environ, both have their different professional journalistic approaches where professionalism really matters to journalist. Public figures and politicians however shouldn’t be immune to probe by the media, even whereby they are being probed in a court of law trial for crimes they may be accused of.

    • I agree that no one should be shielded from probe, except where the constitution decrees so, but there need to be limits and boundaries to protect people from spiteful and malicious slander against their persons and dignity.

      I do understand that the law does always set limits and the aggrieved always have recourse to seek redress where required, but the law is unable to undo the negative public perception about an individual that may be formed from news reports that are later found to be false, and even where the paper withdraws the item with a rectification and apology, the damage done could still be irreparable.

      That is why journalism also require ethical boundaries and limits, working or operating alongside the legal ones. This will ensure that people’s rights to presumption of innocence until proven otherwise can be guaranteed and protected, whilst at the same time, they are also protected from spiteful and malicious slander against their persons and dignity, because once a news item is put out there and the public perception is formed, it is almost impossible to completely nullify it.

      To give an example, I will say that where the media is aware that a public official (eg, state minister) is under investigation for impregnating a school girl, it should be able to inform the public of the investigation without identifying the official, until the investigation is complete and the facts or falsity of allegations are established.

      In this way, the public is informed whilst the official is accorded his rights to presumption of innocence until proven guilty. In the event that this allegation against the official, which has already been put before the public domain is found to be false, without the right to anonymity, the said official can never fully recover his dignity and image because there will be that perception in thre public eye that he would not have been associated with the impregnation of the school girl, if he hadn’t “touched” her, even if he had never been near her.

      So, unless we misunderstand the concept of a FREE PRESS, it should not be difficult to accept this proposition (of witholding the specifics about an incident until facts are established) as a reasonable one that does not negate the role of a free press in a free and democratic environment.

  6. Max…We all know where you stood on the issue of a united alliance against Jammeh (partisan or non partisan; election or selection of flag bearer), but that’s history now. Let’s move away from that…?

    Again, the demonstrations did halt all political activities of the UDP until the end of the trial of the UDP Executive, and from that perspective, it had distracted the party, but that too is history. Let’s not focus on that now.

    Personally, I have my suspicions about Yaya Jammeh’s wealth based on what I know and what I witnessed in 1994 and what I have observed during his 22 year rule. But until I see solid proof to back my suspicions, I cannot get him convicted of any financial crimes in any serious court of law. Hence my suspicions, if I make them public, will become allegations only and nothing else. So we have strong reasons to allege theft of public funds by Jammeh but until this is back by solid proofs, they will only be allegations and nothing else.

    Claims that I showed sympathy to Jammeh is obviously false and you know that. I have expressed sympathy to all those who are innocent of his crimes, and take no part in it, but still get targeted because of nothing but their relationship to him, particularly his children, and I make no apologies on my stance on these.

    I have equally expressed my sympathy to his victims and outrage at the regime for its brutally. Innocent victims on both sides had my sympathy, even if I disagree with the political positions or actions of some.

    Did you say I opposed ECOWAS military intervention…? I can’t remember doing any such thing, so you should remind me if you can. I did say that with or without the intervention, Gambians would have forced Jammeh out, but that is not the same as what you and Ebrima Conteh seem to be alleging here.

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