- Emil Touray President of The Gambia Press Union
Compatriots, Fellow Journalists and Friends of the Media,December 16th marks seven years after Deyda Hydara, co-proprietor and managing editor of the Point Newspaper was assassinated in a drive-by shooting. Yet the gunmen behind this nefarious act are yet to be arrested and brought to book.
It is imperative herein that the Government of the Gambia expends all its efforts and tools to investigate this matter in order to bring the culprits to book. Failure to bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to book will only entrench a culture of impunity in our society. The Gambia Government and indeed all Gambians need to realize that a culture of impunity in any society threatens the very security and safety of the life of each and every one in that society, sooner or later. What happened to Deyda can happen to any other Gambian at any time. It is the responsibility of the Government to protect the right to life of all Gambians as enshrined in Section 18 of our constitution. Thus the Government of the Gambia should move heaven and earth to bringing these criminals to book as this barbaric act has no place in a civilized democratic society.
The murder of Deyda is a fundamental human rights violation that goes against the very essence of our constitution and all regional and international instruments that the Gambia has ratified. These include the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples Rights, hence the responsibility to ensure justice prevails and the protection of human rights in our society lies squarely in the hands of the Government. Given the fact that the Gambia Government has several progressive allies in the world, we recommend that the Government should solicit support from the international community to enable her to unearth the truth.
It should be noted that journalists like all other sectors and professionals are legitimate and have a right to contribute their quota to national development. We serve a crucial role not only in bringing the state closer to the citizenry but also promote the creation of an open society where democracy and good governance flourish. The accomplishment of our crucial role would be hard to come by when rogue elements in the midst of society who negate the work of journalists enjoy the fruits of impunityThe killers of Deyda Hydara must be brought to justice.