Human Rights

Gambia to honour media icon

By Yaya Dampha
The Gambian media fraternity will honour one of its foremost figures, the late William Dixon Colley, sources close to the Gambia Press Union (GPU), which reportedly reached the decision at the latest of its annual general meeting on Saturday February 6, 2010, informed The honour, according to our sources, will take the form of a memorial symposium, and this has been slated for Saturday, 13 February 2010.
This maiden edition, according to our sources, is scheduled to take place at the TANGO Hall, along Bertil Herdon Highway in Kanifing.
Uncle Dixon, as he was fondly called, departed this world on the 17th of January 2001, at the age of 87, and was laid to rest on the 22nd January, at the Kanifing Cemetery.
Dixon lived and died as a principled journalist who defended the ethics of the profession as a seasoned nationalist. He will be well remembered for his total aversion for sectionalist sentiments, and for been a committed humanist.
He is also noted for the wise saying that “If what one is saying is right, and one strongly believes it is, one should go on saying it up to ones grave.’’
The decision to make this celebration of the life of such a heroic figure a yearly event is borne out of the general desire to keep his memory alive as an icon of the Gambian press. This is seen by many as step in the right direction. The day will accord members of the Gambian media the opportunity to recall on the achievements of Dixon Colley, and to enable young and upcoming journalists get to know some of the people who served as press freedom defenders and promoters in the Gambia.
According to our sources, the day will be marked by a presentation on the ‘Life and Times of Dixon Colley’, by one of the country’s most respected veteran journalists, D.A Jawo. Also on the itinerary of Saturday 13 February is a presentation on the ‘Contributions of Dixon Colley to the Socio-economic Development of The Gambia’, by Halifa Sallah. There will also be a lecture on the Impact of Criminal Libel and Defamation on Free Speech, a course Dixon and his like fought for. This will be done by Dr Feye Ogunade, Senior Legal Officer at the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights.

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