by Alagi Yoro JALLOW:
Fatoumatta: There are journalists, and then there is Modou Lamin Jammeh, anchor of the Ifanbondi episode with Eye Africa Television Network. The Journalist has a magnetic appeal and a surplus of personality. You all remember how he made Ahmed Mai Fatty, leader of Gambia Moral Congress (GMC), break a sweat in that Ifangbondi panorama leading up to the controversial rerun on social media. This is the time for him to join the ranks of international journalists. I wish him all the best.
I watched an interview with the leader of the Gambia Moral Party(GMC), Mr. Ahmed Mai Fatty, last night. After determining Mr. Fatty’s lack of communication with clarity, objectivity, confidence, and misinformation during the interview episode through the teeth, he fires, “I think you are here with a plan.” Then, Mai Fatty unceremoniously ends the interview after a sudden row with Ifanbondi anchor with Eye Africa, Momodou Lamin Jammeh.
“Mr. Jammeh, if you want the interview to proceed, don’t cut me,” Mai. Fatty began after the interview had gone to over 50 minutes, to which Jammeh replied he was not cutting him. Jammeh insisted he needed to ask Mai Fatty questions. However, Mai Fatty warned he would view Jammeh cutting him as disrespectful.
As the back and forth continued around the issue of Semlex contract when he was Interior Minister, Mai. Fatty dropped the mic on the table and blasted: “You’re not here to know the facts. I think you’re here with an agenda.”
The GMC leader moments later stood up and repeatedly said that the interview was over. Jammeh remains seated with confidence and professionalism.
Mai. Fatty had earlier on said: “You didn’t come to my house to argue with me, you’re not respecting me. So I’m putting an end to this interview. The interview is over.”
He later walked out.
Journalist Jammeh’s tough, balanced questioning earned people’s respect. Although last night’s interview with Ahmed Mai Fatty was not his first, he cemented his reputation as a fair but tough questioner.
Mr. Modou Lamin Jammeh rose through the ranks of best interviewers of Gambian broadcast journalism through sheer hard work. He took the moribund trend and turned around the fortunes of the Ifanbondi episode. His interviews with public personalities, albeit controversial, were the stuff of class. Moreover, with that, he became a brand, a household name. Suppose you talk nicely to the folks tracking numbers at Eye Africa. In that case, they will tell you without batting an eyelid that Journalist Jammeh’s panorama shows pushed up ratings in a crazy way. His name is not known only in the Gambia but around the Gambian Diaspora community. I have lost count of the times I watched his Ifanbondi episode interview offer his perspective on a bewildering array of issues.
He built his brand not to be pushed around by anyone or be threatened by any public official. As a result, few journalists are as independent as Journalist Jammeh.
Modou Lamin Jammeh will never have to worry about being jobless because his brand speaks loudly for itself. Job offers, I can bet with my future Jola wife, will start coming in fast and furious.
The Gambia Press Union (GPU), Journalism training school, and the education sector are chronically underfunded; even training reporters to be good reporters is not an easy job, so the level and quality of reporting journalism are sometimes not up to par. However, they do try, given the circumstances.
Fatoumatta: If you cheer the media being subdued to submission, you will live to regret when they come for you. Politicians are not only targeting rival opponents; they are targeting Gambians and want Gambians to live in blissful ignorance even as the prices of basic stuff shoot through the roof, as the government scavenges for money to pay the debt they took to sate the rapacious appetite for cash for the government officials.
If you are a decent human being, criticize the media objectively, point out the mistakes; the media always is ready to take criticism and improve.
However, do not throw the bath-water out with the baby to appease your masters. There are journalists, and then there is Modou Lamin Jammeh. I wish him all the best.