#National News

GPU engages media, political parties on safety of Journalists

Mar 16, 2022, 11:39 AM | Article By: Isatou Ceesay-Bah

The Gambia Press Union (GPU) recently convened a day’s forum for media, political parties and independent candidates vying for seats in the National Assembly elections to chart out ways in ensuring a hitch-free activity for journalists covering the upcoming election process.

The meeting held at the Senegambia Beach Hotel in Bijilo, is held every year to give political parties and independent candidates a better understanding of the role of journalists in fostering democracy.

The objective is to sensitise politicians on the role of journalists and to discuss the role of political parties in promoting and protecting the safety of journalists to be able to effectively carry out their mandate of informing and educating the public.

Muhammed M.S. Bah, president of The Gambia Press Union, reminded participants that as The Gambia goes towards another cycle of national elections, starting with the presidential elections in 2021, there is heightened risk of journalists being verbally and physically attacked by supporters of political parties.

This situation, he added, is worrying given that previous politically-motivated attacks on the media and journalists were done with impunity.

Bah noted that this situation unlikely to change without strategic and targeted advocacy and sensitisation. 

"In this drive, the GPU through its project funded by the Civil Society Fund of Denmark is holding this daylong forum to bring all the registered political parties together with some seasoned journalists to have a frank conversation as to how to better improve the relationship between the political parties and the media."

He also indicated that the forum is designed to serve as a platform to engineer better understanding of the role of the media in enhancing democracy. It would discuss the plight of political parties and ensuring that they sensitise political parties on the role of journalists.

The move, he added, would also make them understand their obligation to keep journalists safe and secured during political events and address how press conferences are held.

The forum, he added, is part of GPU’s efforts towards promoting and safeguarding the safety and security of journalists.

"Media plays a key role in ensuring free fair, transparent and peaceful election. Therefore, it is important for media workers to have a free and favourable atmosphere in executing their duties throughout the electoral cycle."

He thus urged political parties to safeguard the safety of journalists and media workers in all times.

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