(Tuesday 15th October 2019 Issue)
Leigh, an outspoken Muslim scholar and the Imam of Kanifing Estate has
underscored the significant role journalists play towards national building,
arguing that journalism is key in the new Gambia.
“Journalism is very important in the new Gambia; hence there is need for journalists to report accurately and fear God in the way they report.”
Imam Leigh, who is also a commissioner of the Human Right Commission of The Gambia, was speaking on Wednesday at the University of The Gambia (UTG) law faculty Auditorium during the commemoration of the five years anniversary of the UTG School of journalism and Digital Media (SJDM). The Commemoration was organised under the theme: Perspectives on A Blue print for media, politics, and democracy in the new Gambia.
He said Journalism is the only fertilizer for any democratic society for the fact that it contributes greatly to freedom of expression, democracy and religion. “Journalism has a huge connection to religion, most especially Islam. Therefore, journalists must be knowledgeable and should always fear God during reporting. We have to understand that the pen of a journalist, is powerful than the missile,” he said.
Halifa Sallah, National Assembly member for Serrekunda dwelled on the significance of the forum, saying that it is the duty of journalists to hold the government accountable.
Mr Sallah, who is also the Secretary General of the People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS), said politics must be based on the sovereignty of the people and politics of a republican state should be determined by its citizens. “The essence of the media is to speak, publish or broadcast information that is in the best interest of the people. Freedom is not a gift, but a perspective.”
Fatou Jeng, Vice President of the Media Council of The Gambia said; “The law doesn’t address the issue of freedom of information. However, there is a new draft ‘Access to Information Bill that is currently under review.”
Fatoumatta Ceesay, the president of the SJDM said the school would continue to pay homage to its founding fathers.
Former President of The Gambia, Yahya Jammeh, inaugurated the SJDM on 11th of October 2014. It graduated first batch in January of 2019 since establishment.