GPU commemorates World Press Freedom Day

Monday, May 06, 2019

The Gambia Press Union together with Amnesty International over the weekend commemorated World Press Freedom Day under the theme: Media for Democracy: Journalism and Elections in Times of Disinformation.”

The commemoration, held at the University of The Gambia Auditorium in Kanifing, brought together members from all sections of the media, officials from Amnesty International and students.

Speaking at the gathering, the president of The Gambia Press Union Sheriff Bojang Jr. applauded the government of The Gambia for “their commitment to press freedom, their commitment to freedom of expression and the work of the media. We appreciate these commitments,’’ he said.

However, the GPU boss was quick to note that these commitments must be put into practice and not just the words.

“But commitments are nothing if they are not implemented, if they are not put into practice. We can promise ourselves but if those promises are not implemented they are just mere promises, they are just mere propaganda.”

“So on behalf of The Gambia Press Union and on behalf of Gambian journalist fraternity, “I want to speak to the government through the representative here who is information minister Ebrima Sillah, to tell the president that we appreciate his commitment and we want to believe that he meant every commitment to the welfare of journalists and journalism in this country.’’

He called for more recognition for Gambian journalists whom he said stood on their grounds despite all odds through the 22 years of dictatorship to inform the outside world of the brutalities by the Jammeh regime which triggered change.

Bojang also advocated for easy access to information at the level of presidency.

The director Amnesty International for west and central Africa, Mrs. Marie Petrus Barry, said there is good news in terms of press freedom in The Gambia part of which she said is non restriction of the social media and the internet not being shut down. But she said it is important that this good news is maintained.

She recognised the improvements The Gambia has registered in press freedom and freedom of expression but said a lot more needs to be done.

The Information Minister Ebrima Sillah, said the government and GPU have been working closely to improve on information related matters. He promised to work with the Director of Press at State House to ensure easy access to information is provided at the level of presidency.

Author: Sankulleh Gibril Janko