#National News

FES, Mai Media train journalists on peace building, safety during elections

Apr 14, 2022, 12:08 PM | Article By: Ali Jaw

The Frederich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Office of Peace and Security Competence, Sub-Saharan Africa, last Thursday convened a two-day training for local journalists on the theme "Media in Peace Building and Safety of Journalists in Elections in The Gambia."

The two-day training was held at the Young Male Christian Association (YMCA) conference hall in Kanifing and was facilitated by Mai Media, a local media and communications agency.

The capacity building training is aimed at equipping journalists with the requisite skills on electoral systems in democracy, role of the media and issues surrounding safety and security of media practitioners.

In attendance were journalists of radio broadcasting stations, 

print, TV, online stations, veteran journalists and other stakeholders from civil society groups.

Addressing the gathering, Cherno Jallow, a veteran Gambian journalist and former president of The Gambia Press Union (GPU), called for neutrality and ethicality among journalists, particularly during elections.

"The press has come of age as far as The Gambia is concerned. It is admirable, it is commendable. In our time compared to your time, it is a vast difference. But we are proud to say that now you are standing on the shoulders of giants. I am not saying we were giants, but we have all benefitted from the evolution of The Gambia, from the evolution of our society. So, we owe it to our society to discharge the duty without fear or favour, affection or ill will. That's a very difficult task facing you, objectivity," he challenged participants.

The veteran journalists reminded that objectivity is a great challenge in the Gambian media as clearly indicated by journalists' reports, saying it is not the fault of the Journalist.

"It is not your fault. It is the fault of poverty in the media. As long as the media is not financially independent, it will be dependent. I am now referring to embedded journalists covering elections. I have seen them. I spent over 40 years in the media, so nobody is telling me anything, because I was there and I am still there." he further said.

Also speaking, John C. Njie, chairperson of the CSO Coalition on Election, also encouraged participants as they prepare for election duties to be neutral and truthful in their reporting, saying "the truth is what shall set you free."

"If you request for a transport refund from a particular political party, they will obviously give you a story to cover. After sometimes, you begin to wear their colours. In 2017, I remember when change came everybody was saying it is good that the dictator has left and objectivity was thrown out of the window. Nobody or few journalists held this coalition government in check, because people were for favours like jobs. Sad to say how many journalists will stand up with their heads high." he said.

Nana Grey Johnson and Muhammed S. Bah, Gambia Press Union President, both expressed similar sentiments.

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