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Partners in development

Dec 3, 2008, 4:37 AM

Most people regard the journalist as the enemy of the powers that be. The journalist does not see him or herself in that role. In a real sense, the journalist is a watchdog that keeps an eye on developments in society and reports on them. The journalist's job requires him to report on both the pleasant and the sordid aspects of society. When the journalist writes a favourable report on the powers that be, he or she is applauded as a good boy or girl. But when the reports are critical, the journalist is vilified, branded as public enemy number one.

News consumers have to learn to take the good with the bad. The journalist does not create news; he or she forwards it as they see it, whether pleasant or not. When the news is bad, they report it, just as they do when it is favourable, so they are neither friends nor enemies of the powers that be. Appropriately, the journalist is a partner in development. The journalist is a partner in development because by reporting the bad news, they are drawing government's attention to drawbacks that need improvement. And by reporting on the positive aspects of society, they are equally urging leaders at all levels to consolidate their strengths.

It is for this reason that we commended sometime ago the National Assembly for supporting the Gambia media by sending some journalists for further training in the art of parliamentary reporting. Training is a prerequisite for growth and development in any career. The journalists who attended the three-week course in the Ghanaian capital Accra have returned home, full of zest to give the profession their all. As they will be reporting more knowledgeably on parliamentary affairs, the National Assembly stands to benefit from the professional dissemination of its activities to the general public. That way, the National Assembly will be better understood and appreciated by the public. Even when such reports are seen in some quarters to be unfavourable, the National Assembly should take them as corrective measures, put forward by partners in development.

Once again, we thank the National Assembly for its support and call on other institutions to help the media to foster development in our society.

"It's not the world that's got so much worse but the news coverage that's got so much better."

G.K. Chesterton