Government spokesperson has given assurance to journalists in the country that
they would no longer be subjected to discrimination that would land them in
jail, saying journalists play significant role in the new dispensation.
Ebrima G. Sankareh said, “Today, unlike yesterday, you can crisscross the entire country and you can write and say whatever you want to without even blinking. You don’t have to worry about Mile 2 anymore,” he said.
Speaking at the closing of a five-day training for 20 investigative journalists at Senegambia Beach Hotel, Mr. Sankareh assured that journalists don’t have to worry of being sacked from their jobs or being detained incommunicado. “However, that also comes with responsibility. There is saying that to whom much is given, much is expected. Therefore, the skills, the knowledge and the wisdom that have being put in you here must be translated into something meaningful,” he told the journalists
The training was organised by The Gambia Press Union (GPU) in collaboration with German NGO KONRAD Adenauer Stiftung.
He said journalists are supposed to be the custodians of truth. “You need to investigate properly and to account for what is wrong; that is your mandate as journalists. You did not go in to journalism to be famous or to be rich. This is a noble endeavor, and it is a sacrifice that you do in order to bring sanity in the public domain,” he stated, saying that their responsibility also includes checking those in power so that they will not abuse power and they will not be corrupted.
President of The Gambia Press Union Sheriff Bojang Jnr. emphasized the urgent need for investigative journalism in the country, appealing to the journalists to take the skills they acquire from the training to their newsrooms and to the streets. “We expect that when the crowd disappears and these hotel doors close, you’ll get to work right away and start scrutinizing and investigating what’s going on in the county, to hold the government and all other stakeholders to account. You owe that to yourselves, your country and your news consumers.”
Information minister Ebrima Sillah said when good investigative journalists do their work effectively, government and those that are affected by the report always have to do something because by leaving it unattended, it causes serious issues in the society.
Mr. Sillah said investigative journalism is not about blackmailing people or government, but about seeking and telling the truth.
Thomas Volk, resident representative of KONRAD Adenauer Stiftung urged Gambian journalists to hold the government to account and to ask tough questions in the interest of accountability and transparency. “It’s about strengthening democracy that is why we partner with GPU.”