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Building the bridge for partnership

Jun 29, 2015, 9:00 AM

The Gambia Press Union has made known its willingness to engage the government in a dialogue on issues of freedom of expression and that of the media.

The executive of the GPU should be commended for so far being assertive advocates of media freedom, and for reviving the way in engaging the government on issues that have to do with embracing democratic norms as far as the media is concerned.

As a matter of fact, the Gambia government, just like many other governments even in the developing world, has its reservations and views about the media.

The media, on the other hand, has a way that it looks at the government which is informed by certain policies and laws that the government has put in place.

Despite difference, the government and the media are indispensable partners.The media cannot fully develop or become vibrant in any country where there is no effective government.But also, no successful government can rule a country where there is no media.

It is good that the press union engages the government on the rules of the game as far as media freedom as a component of democratic behaviour is concerned.In this regard, the union must aim to end the long-standing condition in which media freedom has been subsumed beneath the ‘paramountcy’ of the wishes of the government.

The sought-for GPU-government dialogue should arrive at a point where it should be made known to the authorities that the cardinal principle of journalism is truth and objectivity.

It is expected that the GPU-called-for dialogue with the government leads to a free, well, and responsible press.

The government, it is expected, would understand that its commitment to the strengthening of democracy in the country will be measured, in large part, by its actions to media freedom.

This will include the extent of its tolerance of dissenting opinion and its preparedness to see media houses function professionally, as well as to allow for the infusion of a far greater measure of balance and fairness into the reporting of the state-run media.

While it is making frantic efforts to reach the government on the state of the media, the GPU should know that its openness for dialogue might not just mean they will be engaged sooner than later.

However, they should continuously try to engage the government on issues that will enhance the work of journalists in the country.

“The Media is a partner in development as the fourth estate, therefore Government-Media relationship should be cordial.”

The Point