Lawyer Jobarteh urges journalists to adhere to MCG lawful dictates  

Jun 9, 2020, 11:07 AM | Article By: Sulayman Waan

Junkung Jobarteh, executive secretary for Media Council of The Gambia (MCG), has said that Gambian journalists have the responsibility to adhere to the lawful dictates of the council and panel in order to avoid journalists and media houses facing civil and criminal cases in courts.

Junkung Jobarteh was speaking to journalists in a press conference held at The Gambia Press Union Secretariat on Thursday 4 June. The press confab was designed to update the media about the council for the first time.

The Media Council of The Gambia (MCG) was established by the Gambia Press Union in December 2018 as part of the sector reform facilitated by the government through the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology (MoICI). It aims to regulate the media fraternity.

“The beauty of this self-regulatory process is that none of the parties will bear any form of financial and material cost in filing and hearing their complaints,” he said.

“The media self regulation benefits are overwhelming for both the media and the public. The benefits include preventing government or state apparatus from interfering extensively with the media, provide alternative to courts for resolving complaints on media contents as well provide no cost complaint resolution process,” he said.

Jobarteh, a professional lawyer described government regulations as being heavy –handed, expensive.

“The choice of self-regulation over state regulation will engender the promotion of independent and free media as well as upholding the highest ethical standard by the media and its practitioners.

Meanwhile, he noted that that the council’s mission was to protect the media through the consideration, investigation and resolution of complaints about the breaches of code of conduct or any other relevant law.

Jobarteh added that the council would also monitor, record and publish compliance of ethical standard as well as promote and ensure adherence with the code; provide non-binding guidance regulated media entities includes the establishment of internal forms of regulation, publish papers among other materials.

“And encourage media development in The Gambia. The GPU’s code of conduct which provides guidelines and ethical standards for all categories of news media is the working tool for the council and ethics panel in resolving the complaints,” he said.

He added: “It’s hoped that the council will facilitate the establishment of a public trusted media in the country.”

Nana Grey Johnson, chairperson of MCG, said self- regulation dignifies the journalism industry. He expressed gratitude to the GPU for establishing the council and the ethics panel.

 He appealed to the press union to give the council the outmost support to ensure it works as expected.  “So that we can show that we can do it ourselves. Without horrible issues of  litigation in court and incarceration, arrest of people who try to enhance the democratic space by reporting on government and of course contributing ideas to make democracy strong.”