We have watched the Eye Africa interview with Mai Ahmad Fatty with an open mind, and we’ve realized that the anchor’s conduct and his line of questioning were not ‘disrespectful’ as described by Hon. Fatty in justifying his walkout of the show.
Mr. Fatty should have known better that interview program formats are different depending on the show’s design. For example, some interviews are about social and other light political issues that allow the interviewee to elaborate in detail to enlighten people on certain things. Other formats only focus on the specifics of an issue. And in such cases, interviews are often strictly controlled/guided by the host to ensure no deviation. This is normal.
We believe Mr. Fatty does watch Steven Sackur’s Hard Talk on BBC, Aljazeera’s Head to Head by Mehdi Hasan. These are a few good examples that have similar features with Ifangbondi (the show in question).
Interview formats like these are never meant to make the guests feel comfortable.
Hence, the only defense as an interviewee is to prepare for unexpected questions and be professional and persuasive in responses by showing a high degree of patience to be above the interview’s tension. But, unfortunately, Fatty’s expressions throughout the show meant impatience.
One more thing. We’d appreciate it if our politicians could stop accusing journalists of having a ‘special agenda’ anytime they’re on the hot seat to discredit the journalists’ work intentionally.
It’s a mind game to deviate the public’s attention from making sound judgments on the real issues politicians avoid talking about. Anytime a Gambian politician shifts his inability to speak about national issues on imaginary journalists’ agendas, he intentionally or unintentionally prepares his supporters to wage attacks on journalists.
In this election year, politicians have a huge role in ensuring journalists’ safety through their remarks and actions.
We want to believe that we all, as Gambians want the best candidate to win this December 4th election for the country’s interest.
Therefore, the role of journalists in helping the public make a sound decision through the process of choosing a president cannot be overstated.
Hence, while we despise bad journalism, we proudly emphasize that critical journalism is sacrosanct, and politicians should tolerate dealing with journalists no matter what critical issues they raise.