Oct 17, 2008, 4:59 AM
“Voice management did not have anything against YJAG; we are ready to work with you at all times and our doors are open to you,” he said.
The Voice editor was speaking on Tuesday during an audience with executive members of YJAG who are on their traditional tour of media houses in the country.
He told the meeting that as far as he is concerned, YJAG is not out to undermine any media house or even the GPU.
“As far as I know what you guys are doing by advocating for the welfare of journalists, is what is happening all over Africa,” he said.
Mr Sheriff thanked the new YJAG executive for the visit and further challenged the association to address workshop journalism among young journalists in the country and urged them to respect their profession.
“We cannot work in isolation; we need to work with the system if we want to bring about change in the media and in the country,” he said. “We need to work together and speak with one voice.”
In response to concerns raised by YJAG, Mr Sheriff expressed commitment in improving the welfare of young journalists working in his office.
“We will assure YJAG that my management will address 70 percent of the issues that my staff - the young journalists - are facing in the not too distant future,” he assured.
Speaking earlier, Sulayman Ceesay, secretary general of YJAG, said the welfare of young journalists is a serious concern for the new YJAG executive.
“Protecting their welfare will help them contribute their part to the development of the media in the country,” he said.
The December 31 meeting was meant to introduce the new executive members to the management, seek their advice and support and also discuss the welfare of young journalists, he said.
Ceesay,who doubles as the newsroom coordinator of the Voice Newspaper, said young journalists constitute the major workforce of the media in the country, so their welfare need to be protected not only by media chiefs, but also by individuals, government and the general public.
He added that the aim of YJAG is to see free and conducive working environment for young journalists, which cannot be achieved without the assistance of the media chiefs, government and the general public.
He calls on the media chiefs to improve the welfare of young journalists in their various media houses while assuring their readiness to working with the media chiefs in improving the welfare of its members.
Nfamara Jawneh, president of YJAG, said the association cannot work in isolation with media houses, adding that their partnership is needed for the benefit of both parties.
“YJAG is here to complement the effort or success of the media houses in the country, but it is not here to compete with any institution whatsoever,” he said.
He said his association would not compromise the welfare of young journalists by virtue of their role in the development of the Gambian media. “We are not asking for equality, but equity, to enable us contributes our part in the development of the media and the country as a whole. Therefore, we urge that you give us our fair share of the cake and that I mean good remuneration for young reporters,” he emphasised.
He raised concern on the safety of young journalists in the country, citing the draconian laws under which journalists operate.
Alhagie Saidy-Faye, administrator of Voice Newspaper, said YJAG is doing very well in contributing to the welfare of the young journalists and to the betterment of the media in The Gambia.
“Your contribution is recognised by all as you are engaging media chiefs towards the welfare of young journalists in the country,” he said.
He added that YJAG’s commitment towards the development of Gambian media needs to be commended, saying journalism is a challenging profession but very noble.
Despite all the challenges, young journalists are still committed to the work and doing very well, he added.
He also advised the association to bring together media chiefs and discuss the way forward and work as a team in improving not only young journalists, but also the entire situation of the media in the country.
Modou S. Joof, news editor of the Voice, said it is a very vital step that YJAG is taking in improving the welfare of young journalists in the country.
The ex-president of YJAG also said the issue is a challenge for the association since its establishment in 2007, but urged the new executive to keep pushing on.
“Promoting the welfare of staff of all categories is the bedrock of any institution,” Mr Joof said.
Other speakers at the event were YJAG’s 2nd vice president Amie Faye and public relations officer Yahya B. Baldeh.