GRTS’s Malick Jones is complaining! He said he received a phone call from Lawyer Ousainou Darboe, of the main opposition United Democratic Party (UDP) on Wednesday, who confronted him about a news story covered by one of his producers Ebrima Baldeh. The story in question is about the controversy surrounding the age of the newly hired Vice President Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang.
Ms. Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang, has been allegedly disqualified by the 1997, Constitution to serve as a Vice President. She is over the age limit as stipulated by the Constitution to serve as a Vice President. The Constitution says for one to serve as a Vice President, he or she must be 30 years of age and not more than 65 years old. She is said to be 68 years of age. But the Transition government said she is 64. Although, no paperwork (birth certificate) has been provided to the media to support the Transition’s assertion. Gambians are relying on a “word of mouth” coming from government, which says it would operate on the basis of transparency, accountability and probity.
Malick said Darboe called him to complain about Ebrima Baldeh’s coverage of the story. The opposition leader told Malick that he was not calling to interfere with his job, but he just wanted to inform him that there was no controversy in the appointment of Ms. Tambajang, as being blown out of proportion by some section of the news media. Mr. Darboe, referenced the GRTS coverage in particular. Hence, he took up the issue with Mr. Jones.
A panic stricken Malick Jones, who is known for his sycophancy listened patiently to Mr. Darboe, while Darboe grilled his ass on the phone. He told Darboe that he was going to talk to his reporter Mr. Baldeh to be mindful in the way he reports about the Ms. Tambajang’s age controversy.
As soon as Malick, had gotten off the phone with Mr. Darboe, he contacted Ebrima Baldeh, to inform him that the UDP Leader Ousainou Darboe, had phoned him to complain about his coverage about the Ms. Tambajang age controversy. Jones advised Mr. Baldeh to be mindful about his reporting saying the new government leaders were not happy with the coverage.
In response, Ebrima Baldeh, reportedly talked junk to Malick Jones by telling him not to call him again to interfere with his reporting. Baldeh was quoted as saying there is democracy in the country now, and that he will not allow anyone to dictate to him as to how he should perform his journalistic job.
Mr. Darboe’s phone call to GRTS’S Malick Jones is a cause for concern. Yahya Jammeh used to do the same thing. If Mr. Darboe is aggrieved with the way and manner GRTS reports national issues, he is free as a citizen of this country to walk into the GRTS and make a request for an interview. But calling GRTS Directors and reporters, confronting them over a reported news story, would only be seen as an intimidation and interference with the job of Jones and co.
Mr. Darboe could not be reached for comment.