The appointment of veteran journalist as the Director General of the Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS) has been hailed by many people. Mr. Ebrima Sillah, who replaces Malick Jones, has a wealth of experience in both print. broadcasting and online journalism.
Mentored and trained by the late doyen journalist Baboucarr Gaye, Sillah came to prominence in the mid-90s when he worked for Citizen FM Radio and New Citizen Newspaper. Ebrima Sillah’s daily Mandinka newspaper reviews, cultural shows and news at 10 had all added value and meaning to Citizen FM’s popularity.
Sillah remained resolute and fearless in his quest to inform, entertain and educate a news hungry population. He has proven his journalistic prowess both locally and internationally. Apart from being the BBC Banjul correspondent for years, Sillah had also worked for so many international news organisations.
Mr. Sillah’s journalism career was marred by so many arbitrary arrests, detentions without trial and state-sponsored attacks. And in 2004, he escaped an arson attack that gutted his Jambur house. He had throughout become a thorn in the flesh of the Jammeh dictatorship that had plotted to kidnap and harm him during his exile period in Senegal. Ebrima’s beef with the ousted regime had to do with his uncompromising reporting on unexplained disappearances, torture of political detainees and kidnapping of Gambian dissidents, Mahawa Cham (former ruling party turned opponent of the Jammeh regime) and Saul Ndow (a businessman). Both men feared dead. Sillah had throughout his journalism career given voice to the voiceless Gambian communities.
The widely traveled Gambian pride journalist had lived and studied in England, Senegal, Ghana and Kenya.
Mr. Sillah, who holds master’s degree in mass communication, has an uphill task of restoring public confidence and trust in an institution that had over the years become the propaganda tool of former President Yahya Jammeh and the APRC party. As a proactive reformist with nationalistic spirits, Ebrima Sillah will undoubtedly use his rich experience and knowledge to transform the national broadcaster.