May 17, 2013, 11:00 AM
Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) Monday conducted a training session for
media personnel and members of civil society organisations (CSOs) on electoral
laws, at the NaNA conference hall, Bertil Harding Highway.
The three-day training course, which also includes political parties and security personnel, was part of the IEC’s activities leading to the presidential election slated for December 1.
The training course would enlighten participants on how to safeguard the integrity and standard of the electoral process, and to ensure the impartial and professional dissemination of information as enshrined in the electoral laws of the country.
In her welcome remarks, the IEC commissioner, Isatou Jallow Ndure, said the media plays an essential role in upholding, monitoring and dissemination of information throughout the electoral cycle.
Mrs Ndure pointed out that the IEC is looking forward to a free, fair and transparent election, which prompted them to organise the training course, and sensitisation of all stakeholders on the electoral process in order for media personnel to be able to offer correct information to the general public.
She called on media practitioners to remain committed to providing professional, independent and factual coverage to promote positive public education during the election period.
The IEC Chairman, Alieu Momar Njai, in his address to the participants, said the training session was an important aspect of the electoral activities, as it aims to sensitise the media and civil society organisations (CSOs) on their roles and responsibilities during the election.
He said the media and CSOs have been close partners to the IEC since they play crucial role in the electoral process, as they serve as an important vehicle through which voters are given the opportunity to make informed choices.
He said the training course would equip journalists with the necessary tools and practical guidelines in helping them fulfill their professional standards and media ethics, according to the election rules and regulations which generally includes accuracy, impartiality and responsibility in election reporting.
Mr Njai appealed to journalists and members of CSOs to utilise knowledge gained from the training course, in discharging their duties of informing and educating voters and candidates on the electoral process.
He also called on journalists and CSO members to desist from defamatory, derivative and malicious conduct which has the potential to cause conflict and violence.
Omar Bah, one of the participating journalists, said the training course was “very important and timely”, as it would foster a spirit of tolerance and understanding among the various stakeholders in the upcoming elections.