Nov 2, 2016, 12:27 PM
The Gambia Police Force (GPF) on Saturday beat Young Journalists Association of The Gambia (YJAG) 3-1 in a friendly encounter played at the Serrekunda East Mini Stadium as part of events marking World Press Freedom Day.
Alagie Manneh, Yankuba Korta and Sheriff Bah scored for the Gambia Police Force, while Muhammed Ndure scored the only goal of YJAG.
Speaking shortly after the game, Nfamara Jawneh, president of YJAG, said the encounter was part of events marking YJAG 2014 World Press Freedom Day celebrations.
He said World Press Freedom Day was declared by the United Nations general assembly in December 1993 following the recommendation of UNESCO’s general conference.
Since then 3rd May has been celebrated worldwide as World Press Freedom Day, he explained.
The day among other things gives them the opportunity to celebrate the fundamentals and principles of Press Freedom, assess the state of Press Freedom throughout the world, defend the media from attacks on their independence, and pay tribute to journalists who have lost their lives in the light of delivering their service, he stated.
“In The Gambia today YJAG is joining the world in commemorating the day with a football match with GPF on the theme, ‘Promoting cordial Media-Government relations for national development’,” the YJAG president pointed out.
The idea to mark the day in this fashion and style was conceived by his executive to among other things strengthen the ties with Government authorities and the Police in particular, he noted.
“It also enables us to interact and make good friends and to build on our health as some of us get this type of opportunity rarely,” he went on, saying: “We spend lots of hours sitting in the office.
“It will also enable us within this and other activities, as YJAG is leading the process of opening a new chapter in the Media-Government relations.”
He thanked the Police command under the directives of the Inspector General of Police (IGP) for accepting their invitation to play with them on this auspicious occasion.
“To us this match is very important as it is the first of its kind in the history of The Gambia,” Mr Jawneh also said, adding that the match further manifested the willingness of the Gambian authorities to dialogue with the media.
Access to information is essential for young people of any democracy as it ensures that citizens make responsible choices rather than acting out of ignorance, he further pointed out.
He thanked members of the GPF and YJAG for the wonderful opportunity, adding: “We do hope it will continue to strengthen ties between the Police and the authorities in general.
“We hope the press will continue to work in an atmosphere of free and fair environment while the authorities will continue to see us as partners in development.”
Njundu Drammeh, chairman, Board Members of YJAG, in his remarks, said: “A healthy mind is found in a healthy body. This match between the Police and YJAG would show us that some of us really need to exercise more to be able to maintain a very healthy state.”
“We can have a better relationship between the Police and journalists looking at the interaction at the field,” Mr Drammeh added, saying: “We can ensure that we work together towards the common good and common goal.
“The Police’s role we know is to protect life and the journalist’s role is not only to protect life but also to ensure everyone participate in the furtherance of good governance.
“I hope this match will strengthen the relationship between the Police and Young Journalist Association of The Gambia and we all have a very conducive environment where we operate in.”
He went on: “Certainly I hear people say the media is the fourth estate, I guess I understand the role of the press is much more than that as the police cannot operate in an environment where we do not have information.”
The role of the press is really to ensure there is accountability, he noted, while expressing his delight with the relationship established between the GPF and YJAG.
Mamadi Touray, of the Gambia Police Force, for his part, congratulated YJAG and the GPF.
“This game today is of great importance in a sense that the media and the Police and other security forces show something of good nature,” he said, while encouraging everyone to keep it up.
They look forward to working hand in glove with journalists for the development of The Gambia, he noted.
Mr Touray thanked the senior management of the Gambia Police Force for their encouragement and support to them.
“Our primary task is within the office but this and games like this will always be welcoming for cementing the relationship between the GPF and the press,” he said.