Thursday, January 7, 2016

Editor-in-Chief of Standard newspaper resigns, "pushed by professional disagreement."

Lamin Njie, former Editor-in-Chief of Standard
Lamin Njie, Editor-in-Chief of The Standard newspaper, handed in his resignation letter, yesterday, Wednesday, The Point newspaper reports.

The resignation is not only rare but highly unusual in that The Standard is said to be owned by Sheriff Bojang, a journalist himself who is currently serving as Minister of Information and official spokesperson of the dictatorial regime of Yaya Jammeh.

Resignations, in general, are rare, especially based on principle which is the reason cited by Mr. Njie,  He said in his letter of resignation that he was "pushed by professional disagreement."

"I felt the need to protect my reputation, editorial freedoms and independence", he said, and proceeded to list his accomplishments and what he termed as "landmark initiatives"during his brief (10 months) tenure as editor - a function he assumed at the time he succeeded Mr. Sheriff Bojang when he vacated the editorship for his current ministerial duties.

"I leave with a sense of pride and satisfaction that I have consistently upheld basic journalistic values."  He wished the paper well in parting company with.  Mr, Njie's resignation is consistent with universal journalistic values of avoiding the conflict of interest posed by the owner accepting a ministerial appointment that carries with it the responsibilities of  acting as the regime's spokesperson.  

In a dictatorship that has one of the most repressive press laws in the world, owning and operating a newspaper - even by remote control - and overseeing these repulsive laws indeed pose a moral and journalistic dilemma, a professional and moral conflict that no journalist with a moral conscience can sustain for long.  We salute Mr. Lamin Njie for the professional manner in which he handled both his functions as editor and the gracious manner he walked away from what clearly a moral dilemma for him.

Note:  We call attention to our readers that the online edition of The Standard has not been published for a month or so which may or may not any bearing on this story.  Visitors to the website are being advised that it is being upgraded.