Sep 30, 2013, 11:01 AM
After two days of intensive debate and review, journalists drawn from the print and electronic media Thursday adopted a code of conduct for media practitioners in reporting stories relating to children’s issues in The Gambia.
The adoption followed a review of the code which was last adopted in 2005, with a view to aligning it with international standards.
The review and validation exercise was held at the new secretariat of the Gambia Press Union (GPU) in Fajara, and was organized by the Child Protection Alliance (CPA) in collaboration with the GPU, with funding from Save the Children,
GPU president Bai Emil Touray when opening the workshop said it gave journalists the opportunity to review the code of conduct on reporting stories related to children that was drawn by the GPU in collaboration with CPA since 2005.
“We are reviewing it with a view to updating it. This is significant in light of the fact that issues of children are sensitive and vital. Therefore, it is important to know how to handle certain issues given that they are issues that can land journalists in trouble,” Touray said.
He urged his colleagues to observe ethical standards when reporting on children. “It is important for us to bear it in mind that as gatekeepers, whatever we do is always in the best interest of a child. Some of these children are young, but in the long run they will become elders and leaders in our society.”
Noting that of recent ,journalists were sent to prison for not measuring up to expectations, Touray said the gathering was a step in ensuring that the journalists overcome certain challenges by adopting the code of conduct.
He commended Save the Children and CPA for coming to the aid of journalists, while urging his colleagues to henceforth stick to the code of conduct.
Njundu Drammeh, coordinator of the CPA, recalled that the GPU was a founder member of the CPA, noting that they have been working together for the past years since its inception to promote and protect the rights of children.
“This code of conduct is one aspect in protecting the children, and media practitioners have a great role to play in the way they report on children’s issues in The Gambia. We felt that it is important to review this code of conduct to ensure that it addresses current issues that affect children and the way we report children’s issues,” Drammeh stated.
According to him, it is important that the rights and dignity of a child are protected. The code, he went on, will provide greater respect for the rights of children, in reporting in the media.
“The code will be prepared in the form of a pocket-size booklet that will be provided to journalists in The Gambia, so that new entrants to the field would understand and abide by the code of conduct in protecting the interest of children,” he added.