By Amie Sanneh & Aja Musu Bah Daffeh
The Gambia’s first privately owned Television Station, QTV, have been launched on Thursday 30th November 2017, at QCity in Bijilo, by the President of the Republic, Adama Barrow. The launching witnessed the official opening of QCity, the Gambia’s first multipurpose recreation center that offers recreation activities for children and adults of all ages.
Speaking on the occasion, the Minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure Demba Ali Jawo, said the issuing of license to the first Gambian private television station QTV, which is licensed to a core Broadcasting and Multimedia Company limited, is a testimony to the promise and resolve by the Barrow administration, to liberalize, regulate and open up the space for media development and access to information. The Information Minister believes that liberalization of the air waves including T.V., is necessary for liberalization, opening a quality and necessary program that benefit viewers and consumers, whose objective will be to foster creativity, pluralism and diversity, in a new media landscape.
Mr. Jawo explained that Gambians live in the era of the internet and information and that with the advent of social media, everyone with access to a smart phone, can be a journalist. “Therefore, in order to promote more dynamic and well informed society, Government has considered awarding QTV a license to start operations after satisfying all the requirements under PURA’s review and supervision.
“We are also happy to announce that two other applications have already been reviewed by PURA which further demonstrate Government’s commitment to a creative, liberalize and competitive broadcasting sector,” he said. He stressed that the local channels are needed to utilize the digital transition infrastructure being built by Government to facilitate their transition from analog to digital broadcasting.
The president of the Republic Adama Barrow, on his part, said his government places high premium on the transformation and modernization of the country, in line with the demands and expectations of the public. He however said Government cannot do it alone without the participation and vibrant innovation of the private sector; that the road to development is a long one and ‘‘we need all hands-on deck, to be able to do this. The private sector needs to play a full part as an engine of growth to the economy, in partnership with Government, whose role is to create the enabling environment for all actors to discharge their full potential necessary, to boost the economy of this great country,” he noted.
The Chairman of QGroup, Muhammed Jah, said QTV studios contain the state of the art TV facilities and equipment. “Establishing QCity and QTV, has been one of my major dreams since I started my business career and I feel happy today, that I have accomplished that dream,” he said. Jah explained that it is as a result of President Barrow’s administration that Gambians today can boast of a privately-owned television which carries the national flag. “A television station that is truly Gambian,” he said. He emphasised that it is only a progressive Government’s decision and policy that can push the development agenda of the country, in the right direction. “We believe that liberalisation of the media sector will bring about economic growth and higher competitiveness in our beloved country, as we live in a global village,” he stated. The Chairman of QGroup called on Government to do all it can, to provide the necessary basics including good roads, improved infrastructure and affordable and adequate electricity.
He continued: “On the same note, I encourage Government to continue its wonderful reform agenda, especially in good governance and the rule of law in order to make the New Gambia a more business friendly environment; an environment where businesses will receive a “handshake and not a shakedown”; an environment where businesses will rush to go to and not hasten to run away from; an environment which attracts much of the development programs that are currently assisting and reinforcing the economic progress of other countries in the sub-region and beyond,” he said. He concluded by thanking all those who contributed towards the success of the program.
The President of Sierra Leone’s part will come in our subsequent publications.