Foroyaa Newspaper has reliably learnt that Senegalese and Gambian authorities have gone to mediate between the villagers of Jahanka village in CRR South and a cluster of villages across the border in Senegal.
The paper was the first to publish news of the shooting of a villager of Jahanka who happens to be a member the Gambia Fire and Rescue Service. A Foroyaa reporter was the first to speak to both Alkalos and convey their desire for the settlement of the crisis through dialogue and mediation. Foroyaa continued to monitor developments on a daily basis and advocated for speedy mediation to reduce the tension that was still evident in the area. One would have thought that government officials would involve the media like Foroyaa when they took the decision to go to the village for mediation.
The role of the media is recognised more by people who are referred to as illiterate than those who claim to be literate. This is why news gets to the media before it gets to officials. The people use their telephones to call media outlets once they are confronted with difficult situations.
The media is indeed an amplifier of the voices of the people. However it is not being taken as a partner by those who are supposed to be serving the people. A clear example is the mediation effort to settle the problem between Jahanka and Kerr Seny and other villages in Senegal. All media houses should have been invited to cover the mediation effort and amplify what was being said and done.
Now that the authorities are reporting a success story the people in the area are still dissatisfied that the border is yet to be demarcated. For 53 years there are still areas where the Senegal/Gambia border is not demarcated.
The authorities from the two countries need to give this a priority.