‘Media is not government’s enemy’ – US Envoy

‘Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right for all’


By Sanna Camara

The United States ambassador to The Gambia, Edward Alford, has said that the media is not the enemy of the government; rather, it should be seen as the mechanism that serves society.

Ambassador Edward made this remark today afternoon at a ceremony held at his residence in honour of Gambian media, as the world commemorates international Press Freedom Day.

Mr. Alford said the American society highly values the work of the media, and that freedom of expression is one of the higher foundations upon which the United States sovereignty has been built. He said this is the main reason why the US society highly regards free expression and freedom of the press.

When their community needs them most…

He made reference to president Obama’s hosting a ceremony in honour of the media in the US last Saturday as evidence of such a regard the United States government holds the press.

“He (president Obama) emphasized the role and importance of the press in society…. When their community needs them most, they were there…,” he said, citing the recent Boston bombings as a perfect example of such times of need that saw the press live up o its name once again for the American society.  

A fundamental human right for all

Ambassador Alford said the annual World Press Freedom Day commemorations calls attention to the perils affecting independent journalism…: “To celebrate journalism, to celebrate you,” – he told the representatives of the media invited to grace the occasion.

Freedom of expression is a fundamental human right for all people as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he went on to say.

“What you do day in and day out, is imperative to the development of The Gambia. You provide knowledge; you provide information, which are a necessity for a well-functioning society…,” he added.

A School of Journalism in the country

The US envoy to The Gambia congratulated the Gambia Press Union for establishing a School of Journalism in the country, which he said will ensure that the next generations of journalists are well-trained.

He argued that a free media will contribute to a healthy and highly developed society. This is why, according to Ambassador Edwards, the world pays tribute to all journalists detained, harassed, imprisoned, or killed for doing their job.  


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