The Executive Committee of the Sports Journalists’ Association of The Gambia (SJAG) strongly condemn in the strongest form the humiliation, disrespect, discomfort meted on our member sports journalists on Sunday, the 6th September 2015 by the Executive Committee of The Gambia Football Federation (GFF), during the AFCON qualifier game between the Scorpions of The Gambia and the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon at the Stadium in Bakau.
Below is the protest letter signed by Alieu Ceesay, Assistant Secretary General of the Gambia Sports Journalist Association:
“We are journalists and professionals in our own rights and we deserved to be given the maximum respect like any other professional in any sector.
We [sports journalists] are totally disappointed and shock by the uncalled for attitude and act by the Gambia Football Federation Executive that has always describes the media as their key partner. Your Sunday’s action totally contradicts what you [GFF] preach.
The Executive of the SJAG has the interest of its members at heart and anything that shows disrespect and disregard towards the sports journalists is something the SJAG will not compromise with any more.
The Executive Committee is entrusted with the affairs of steering the affairs of the association and to stand to defend the interest and welfare of our members. The Sports Journalists have renewed their unity against such move by the GFF.
Going further, the GFF must understand that it is the journalists that promote the development of the game and their programs at our own cost. We dedicate our air time and spaces on our newspapers to the cause of sports development and football in particular.
Little does the GFF knows about what the journalists go through to attend your function and have the public inform what the GFF and the game of football is all about.
It is often said ‘Do not take someone’s patience for weakness’ but we are emphasizing that enough is enough and the sports journalists will no longer be taken for granted by any sports association, GFF in particular.
Some of us [sports journalists] have travelled and covered International events and there is nowhere in the world where journalists are evicted from the media tribune just for the sake of so-called VIPs. The journalists are the ones that covered and report all the proceeding of the game for the public, but how do you expect the journalists to report accurately if they are not watching the game from the right position.
Once again, we are putting it to the GFF that it was inappropriate to suggest an alternative sitting arrangement for the press from the media tribune, something that was clear indication that we were not thought of or look low upon.
All those VIPs came to the stadium because of the media campaign on the airwaves and newspapers at the cost of the different media outlets.
Enough is enough!! The Sports Journalists of The Gambia have renewed their unity and from henceforth are ready and willing to adhere to the challenges of the trade.
We acknowledge your press release sent to us as individuals in various media houses apologizing. However, SJAG is yet to receive any apology to that effect as a body overseeing all sports journalists.
We, therefore demand that the media tribune is maintain for the press and at no cost will the sports journalists be allow to be relocated anywhere else in the stadium beside the media tribune.
The executive of SJAG is suggesting a meaningful dialogue in time before the next home international game.
As your partners in the development of the game, we hope and pray that this will the last of such an experience for all concern.