The Publisher and Proprietor of LamToro News (LTN), Mr. Assan Sallah is a renowned Gambian journalist. He is a former News Editor and a security affairs correspondent at the defunct Daily Observer Newspaper Company in The Gambia. Mr. Sallah is currently serving as the Managing Editor of his LAMTORO NEWS (LTN website) and he is based in Germany. Before he traveled to Germany, he worked for almost 10 years as a newspaper journalist. He graduated from Armitage Senior Secondary School in 2003 and later joined the teaching field. He taught as a teacher at Karantaba Upper Basic School in the Central River Region of the Gambia in the 2003-2004 academic year and later decided to change profession and joined the journalism field.
In 2004, Mr. Sallah began his journalism career as a freelance reporter at the then government newspaper called The Gambia Daily Newspaper (now Gambia Info). This company was located at Hagan Street in Banjul but was later relocated to Fajara where it is currently.
Mr. Sallah later applied for a reporter job at the Gambia’s biggest newspaper, The Daily Observer in 2005 and got appointed. While working at The Daily Observer, Mr. Sallah did his media practice both in the newsroom and at the same time did his Advanced Diploma in Journalism at the Gambia Media Training Centre, sponsored by UNESCO (NATCOM). He was part of the second badge of this media training programme. At that time, there was no faculty of Journalism at the University of The Gambia. He had in-house media training at The Daily Observer from renowned media professionals who worked with him at the time. He proved his skills and abilities in journalism, especially in the area of investigation and report writing, in-depth reporting, court reporting, and interviewing techniques. He gained rapid promotion at The Daily Observer Newspaper and later became a senior reporter and a correspondent of the said newspaper at the Gambia’s Presidential Palace (State House). In April 2008, Mr. Sallah was promoted from senior reporter to the post of editor at The Daily Observer.
During this period, Mr. Sallah became very passionate and active in the media and possessed a great passion for the job. He was elected as the first public relations officer (PRO) of the Young Journalists Association of The Gambia (YJAG) in September 2007. He served as PRO of YJAG from 2007 to 2009. During the Association’s congress in September 2009, he was elected as President of the Young Journalists Association of The Gambia, a position he served from 2009 to 2011. Mr. Sallah was a member of the Gambia Press Union and is still in contact with the union.
In 2009, Mr. Sallah travelled to Ghana where he did a short journalism course on Freedom and Responsibility in the Media at the International Institute of Journalism in Accra. He later returned to The Gambia upon completion of the course and in 2011, he travelled to the Republic of China on Taiwan in Taipei, where he did another short advanced journalism course and later returned that same year. Mr. Sallah attended this course in Taiwan with Mrs. Fatou Sanneh-Ceesay, a Producer at the state broadcaster GRTS and some other colleagues from Africa.
Mr. Sallah served as Editor at the Daily Observer until 2012, when he was again promoted to the position of Deputy Editor-In-Chief of the same newspaper. In May 2013, he was appointed as Acting Editor-In-Chief, a position he rejected due to an internal fight for positions at the Daily Observer. However, Mr. Sallah’s decision to reject this appointment did not go well with his former Managing Director at the time, Momodou Saidy (Late), who reported him to the former president at the State House. Sallah was also classified as an opposition working at The Daily Observer. This was what led to his fleeing into exile to seek refuge in Dakar, Senegal in June 2013.
Mr. Sallah fled into exile and lived in Dakar, Senegal, from June 2013 to 2015 when he had a Visa from the Spanish Embassy. He decided to proceed to Germany where he was hopeful for a better perspective and sought asylum. Sallah had voluntarily served as editor for many Online Gambian media outlets except SMBC News, Mamos Tv, and The Digest News, where he was a full-time employee as Editor. A product of The Daily Observer, Mr. Sallah worked as a full-time staff of the Daily Observer, and while in exile, he was only a full-time staff of some online Gambian media outlets and volunteered for the rest.
One of the primary obligations of being a true journalist is to serve as a watchdog for corruption and injustice. This brings an undisputable responsibility to be skilled, hard-working, virtuous, and ethical. With ‘push back’ from the authorities amidst a new culture of citizen journalism, the prevalence of quality journalists and columnists has seriously been impeded.
While few Gambian journalists could ever match the proprietor LAMTORO NEWS, Managing Editor Assan Sallah’s impressive intellect and prolific body of work, a new medium launched LAMTORO NEWS, an independent news media reporting the news, current affairs, and unbiased editorials and commentaries from renowned essayists to inform and educate in the market place of ideas and operate in support of public debate, fostering discussion on topics of current or historical importance, and promoting up independent journalism reflecting a commitment to free expression and inquiry, a range and depth of intellect, and a willingness to pursue the truth without regard to personal or professional consequence.
LAMTORO NEWS intends to draw public attention to the values that mark ethical journalism and freedom of expression, the necessity of inquiry, and the importance of civil, passionate discourse and debate. Independent journalists who showcase outstanding work and are identified as highly persuasive risk-takers still exist. The proprietor and Managing Editor of LAMTORO NEWS, Mr. Assan Sallah, is one such journalist whose role in journalism is multinational. Through his ethical investigation journalism skills and commitment to uncovering the truth, Assan Sallah reflects his power of journalism. He goes further by writing ingenious articles on security and human rights issues. Editor Assan Sallah is a master at voicing his written opinions through articulation. His articles and stories are always accurate, factual, enjoyable, and give a deep insight into every aspect that defines the ‘expression’ that is the Gambia and beyond.
Today, we are enjoying democracy and a free press only because of the efforts and sacrifices made by our country’s true independent media and journalists, freedom fighters, and genuine activists. Over the decades, the meaning of what journalism and freedom for the Gambia look like has oscillated. While, at one point, we needed autonomy from the constraints of despotism, now the nation is desperate for actual journalists and independent media from the deleterious outcomes that have sprung from that liberty. The Gambia is presently going through a calamity of sorts, a bizarre time of endemic corruption, a warped identity crisis, a condition wherein chaos, despair, defeatism, fear, confusion, catastrophe, cynicism, and the amnesia and assumptions from which they often prosper.
In a time that calls for present-day independent journalism, the rebirth of civic journalism and ethical journalists who are courageous enough to stand up and speak on the need to sanitize the nation is required. Into that locus saunters a young man who, a former reporter with the Gambia Information department and former editor of the Gambia’s Daily Observer newspaper and served in several national and international publications, is not new to civic journalism and politics or good governance. To an extensively growing Gambian Diaspora community, watching the travails of journalist Assan Sallah over the last several years, he is considered the kind of unpretentious journalist the Gambia needs because he is playing a pivotal role in speaking out about the canker eating up the soul of a promising nation. The spirit and the sense of nationalism that editor Sallah represents broadens perspectives with specific possibilities that invite or demand that people act for what they believe in.
Editor Sallah exudes in his struggle to protect the freedom of the nation he loves. Like the Freedom fighters who stood for the Gambia in her time of need, Journalist Assan Sallah understands that the best way to attain freedom is by writing history with ‘a presence,’ ‘a vision,’ and ‘a collective voice.’ If the original journalists had not contributed to the freedom struggle, there would not be a Gambia democratic republic today.
Mr. Sallah is a member of the Youth Refugee Network (YRN) project in the Baden-Württemberg region of Germany. He serves as the Media Officer of the Project.
Mr. Sallah is currently doing a three-year training course as a Salesman in Business and Marketing in Germany (Ausbildung).