- A group of Gambian media professionals have launched an online radio [Alternative Voice of Gambia (AVG)] in the Senegalese capital Dakar.
The ultimate aim of the radio, which is found on www.radioavg.com, is to provide coverage on issues mainly affecting The Gambia. It offers programmes in English and two common local languages, Wollof and Mandinka.
With the current political atmosphere in The Gambia which is characterised by spate of arrest, threats, unlawful detentions, closure and burning of media houses, eavesdropping by security agents, suppression of information and a general sense of fear, the Dakar-based journalists, with their counter-parts in Banjul, felt it necessary to initiate an online media that provides Gambians with an alternative means of accessing impartial and independent information.
Access to such information, according to these journalists, will enable the citizens to make informed choices on the political, economic, social and cultural wellbeing of their country.
"This is like a dream come true! I’m excited about the online radio and I hope it gives more voice to Gambians," the General Coordinator of the project, Amie Joof-Cole, said in a news release.
She believed that “we cannot continue to live in a country where divergent views cannot be expressed."
Mrs Joof-Cole said the closure of media vocal media organisations, particularly Citizen FM does not mean Gambians should be restricted from being heard.
The Coordinator of the project in Banjul, Sam Sarr, said this “will give Gambians an alternative source of news since the radio stations in the country are either state-owned and do not give impartial news items or those privately-owned do not broadcast news at all. So this project will serve that particular purpose."
The project, that has been initiated in partnership with several international media rights defenders, including the Media Foundation for West Africa, International Media Support and the Inter Africa Network for Women, Media, Gender Equity and Development (FAMEDEV), forms part of the many ongoing campaigns to defend and promote press freedom in the West African country.
Among others, the radio aims to monitor and report on human rights issues in The Gambia and promote dialogue and respect for the right to information and the free exchange of knowledge. The project also aims to reinforce and complement civil society activities in areas of information dissemination and sharing.
The radio targets larger Gambian communities by relaying its programmes on Senegalese radio stations. Besides, programmes will be downloaded onto CDs and tapes for free distribution across The Gambia and beyond.
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