Sometimes I find myself in a state of confusion wondering if I am dealing with Trump supporters or Barrow supporters.
It has come to a point where every story that is not favorable to the Barrow administration is attacked as fake news.
For those living in the United States, such sounds very familiar, right?
Articles by the same journalists being attacked for so-called anti-government reports are praised and not questioned when they portray ex-President Yahya Jammeh as a thief and a tyrant.
No article exposing the alleged human rights abuses, corruption, financial mismanagement or crimes against the state by Jammeh has so far being criticized as fake.
Yes, that is common sense right but it shows the dishonesty of some people that many journalists have worked with in the past to expose wrongful acts of Jammeh’s government.
Some of these journalists ended up in exile for years with little to no support and now I say, we will resist any repeat of that.
Gambians seems to have forgotten too soon that when Jammeh came to power, journalists have suffered attacks for raising an alarm on his abuses.
The people refused to hold the government accountable for the crimes of the regime until it spiraled out of control.
Journalists still face a serious threat in The Gambia. Those that continue to hold the powerful accountable are regarded as “bad citizens tarnishing the image of the country.”
We cannot be so naive and allow such mediocrity in our politics. History, we say always repeats itself, but certainly not this history of pushing journalists into self-censorship.
The media reported the torture of an army officer arrested for mutiny in the hands of the State Intelligence Services.
I stand by our reporters and sources that LCpl Samboujang Bojang was subjected to torture, even though the man is now being intimidated to deny all forms of torture and maltreatment.
The job of a journalist is neither to sell the good image of a government or country nor is it to tarnish it.
Our job is simple, report facts and ensure accountability.
Bojang’s torture is not about a blame game and I refuse to believe that President Adama Barrow will condone this.
This is for them to conduct an independent probe into the allegations and not allow people that suffer such degrading treatment to be bullied into silence.
Interestingly, reports of torture by the NIA during Jammeh’s era were not questioned by the same people that support Barrow today. But reports of torture by the same NIA members now masquerading as SIS in Barrow’s regime is suddenly fake news.
If no amount of Trump’s accusation of fake news can stop CNN, be sure that no amount of fake new allegations can stop responsible journalists from reporting the news as it is.
If we do not want our nation’s image to be battered in the international community, then let our public servants act in a manner that those not tarnish our good image.
Surely, responsible journalists will not be the one to put makeup on the face of our nation to hide the ugliness perpetrated against our state.
Holding those in power accountable now will even prevent that from happening in the first place.
Responsible journalists hate fake news because we know it is a threat to our democracy. But what is even more of a threat to our democracy is to whitewash the truth.
The same way that we have reported on the successes of the new government is the same way we will report on any of their ills.
That is our job and we will do it well!
Sam Phatey is a Gambian journalist, Senior Executive Editor at SMBC NEWS and Security and Global Affairs Analyst at TVC Africa.