By Almamo Kamaso
On Wednesday members of the National Assembly challenged the Information minister to accord equal and routine air time to all political parties in the country. The minister was under fire that opposition political parties like the APRC have experiences of restriction to the services of GRTs since the late 2018.
The minister of Information, Communication and Infrastructure (MoICI) Ebrima Sillah said the Gambia Radio and Television services is a national and impartial media that is for all. Sillah was responding to a parliamentary question posed by Hon Member for Jimara Constituency Hon Alhgie H Sowe Wednesday.
The statement is in defence of GRTs as members of the National Assembly question how fair GRTs is serving the population.
The minister was asked why is it that the GRTs is not providing political coverage to oppositions parties , members of the GDC and the APRC parties all complained that even after writing letters requesting for GRTs coverages , they will not turned up.
However Minister Sillah said there has been great improvements in terms of covering political meetings since the change. However he was hasten to say that they have resource challenges.
It was a demand from members that even when there are no elections, air time need to be given on a routine basis for political parties to let their messages reach the grass roots. Sillah said that really can be a big challenge owing to the fact that the country has up to 17 political parties, so given airtime on a routine basis will be a real challenge.
Minister Sillah told members that the issues of GRTs be used by one dormant party is not the case since the advent of the new democracy 2017.
The Information minister agrees that there were one or two cases of unprofessional uses age of the radio which he regrets but was soon taken cared of at the time. He said this was in 2017 when opponents were raining insults on one an others leaders, however the Honourable member for Jimara was instrumental is solving that issue.
Member for Kansala Amul Nyassi told the minster in a supplementary question that since late 2018 his party was virtually denied access to the state broadcaster, in his own word, he said despites it is the dictator that brought the GRTs where it is. Hon Nyassi said if the minister said the status co has changed then it has only change on the other side now.
Sillah informed the member that he was never aware of the constrains that the APRC was having constrains in accessing the services of GRTs. He promise he will bring it to the notice of management of GRTs; but he was quick o say that he as a minister cannot interfere in the editorial administration but he will suggest.