Omar Wally is a fearless journalist who works with Daily Observer, a former pro-government newspaper. In a short interview with What’s On-Gambia, he talks about himself and his career.
What’s On-Gambia: Tell us briefly about yourself.
Omar:I'm Omar Wally, 3rd-year student of the University of The Gambia - School of Journalism and Digital Media (1st Cohort). I am an employee of Daily Observer. I am a contributor to BBC and German International Broadcaster Deutsche Welle.
How did you join Daily Observer and what motivated you into journalism?
I joined Daily Observer after the completion of my high School (Gambia Senior Secondary School). I was fascinated by many people- key among whom is Hassan Arouni of BBC. I started listening to him at a very young age and fell in love with his voice. Ever since then, I was like I want to be like Hassan Arouni.
Are you the ‘rebel’ of Daily Observer?
To some, I am a rebel and to others, I'm a freedom fighter. I always stand to defend the rights of the oppressed.
I’ve had clashes with almost all the past managing directors, because of the stories I bring and the things I write on Facebook. One of them once told me: "You are a criminal journalist, opposition reporter, therefore the journalism you want to practice is not meant for Daily Observer.”
Another threatened me with suspension and he said to me. “If I receive directives to fire people at Observer, Wally your head will roll first”.
Who owns Daily Observer?
Can you see yourself starting your own newspaper?
I want to be a media mogul, like Ted Turner founder of CNN or Rupert Murdoch.
What media reforms do you think we need in The Gambia?
The stringent media laws need to be abolished.
Journalists should be well trained. The profession is considered by many as a last resort which should not be the case. There are lots of opportunities, especially in the international media but without the required qualifications; it will be difficult to take advantage of those opportunities.
The licensing of media houses should also be looked into. I want more Gambians to set up their own media institutions for better, quality and competitive programs.