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Saturday, July 30, 2011

Free Flow of Balanced Information Should Be Ensured at GFA

BB Baldeh
Now that The Gambia Football Association (GFA) has appointed a press officer after what had seemed to be eternity, there should be free and balanced flow of accurate and timely information to the public on matters relating to the governance of football in the country.
On Thursday …, 2011, Mr Bakary Baldeh, commonly known as BB, was engaged as the substantial holder for the position of press officer of The Gambia’s highest football governing body.
BB has a wealth of experience in sports journalism in The Gambia. Prior to this appointment, he was a key senior staff at West Coast, one of the most outstanding radio stations in the country.
There, BB carved a niche for himself as a prolific sports journalist and a leader, eventhough the circumstances that lead to his resignation are controversial.
He had resigned after he was cleared of charges of inciting violence when he hosted a sports programme at West Coast where he featured some disgruntle golf caddies, who were unhappy with the ‘unfair’ treatment accorded to them by the Gambia Golf Association during a sub-regional tournament held in Gambia some few months ago.

To GFA, we say thank you for not only appointing such a dedicated and principled man, but the fill-in of a position that should have long been occupied. Perhaps the sporadic incidents of misunderstanding that had erupted between GFA and the media could have been avoided if there was a designated person to address the concerns of the press without any unfortunate incidents.
In fact, the appointment of a press officer came at a time when, more than ever before, it became more than a necessity for the GFA to have, not a mere spokesperson, but an official who understands how journalists work and will always be available where and when needed.
Football is certainly the most keenly followed sports in The Gambia. In an unprecedented manner, it attracts the attention of people in all spheres of life.
At the national level, the public are curious about what has been done and is being done in order to join the many footballing nations in continental competitions for the first time in history.
GFA, it must however be noted was not all that a closed organisation, as the case of many organisations – both public and private – in The Gambia.
The president of GFA is at most times available when needed. So does the secretary general. We must comment them, though the absence of a press officer had left a big vacuum. We urge others to emulate the move.
It is also our hope that the newly appointed press officer should not only be primarily concern with enhancing and maintaining the image, but also freely provide to the press and the public, information that is timely and balanced.
Besides, the appointment of a press officer equally poses a great challenge to the country’s journalists, particularly those specialized in football to make maximum use of the opportunity afforded.
The development should trigger appreciable improvements in the quality of our news reports and analysis, which the public relies on to be informed. Half-baked reports should no longer appear in the Gambia media – print or broadcast – as GFA opens door for getting authoritative information on matters concerning the governance of football in The Gambia.

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