The event is part of GPU’s implementing project aimed at promoting transparency and accountability in electoral processes in The Gambia.
The forum also seeks to build on the significance of access to information in elections, while helping identify opportunities and strategies to strengthen its implementation in electoral processes thus providing an opportunity to identify emerging trends and how to address challenges.
Addressing the gathering, Muhammed M.S. Bah, vice president of The Gambia Press Union said access to information is vital to free and fair elections especially as the 2021 elections draws closer.
“Access to Information in elections related information is crucial to the integrity of electoral processes particularly our imagined democracy. It empowers the electorates to make well informed choices and also enhance transparency and accountability during the elections.”
The Gambia, he said, is amongst the few English-speaking countries without an ATI law, saying GPU and Civil Society Coalition on ATIs have been at the forefront to get these legislations enacted.
“The key component of any national election is Access to Information in election.”
Bah therefore encouraged participants to use the knowledge gained from the event to enhance their capabilities especially during elections.
Also speaking, John Charles-Njie, chairman of the Civil Society Coalition on Access to Information underscored the role of media in any election, noting that media is crucial in offering not only a fair, but also peaceful elections.
“Even as we fight for information laws, we are also careful to remember that information the way it is disseminated can either bring peace or chaos to any society.”
Charles Njie, however, dispelled media reports that he is part of delegates currently in Nigeria attending the constitutional talks, describing such reports as ‘fake and uncalled’
“There is no pride in breaking fake news.” he concluded.
The event attracted representatives from civil society, and media regulatory bodies to discuss and share experiences on Access to Information and Elections as well as make recommendations for free and fair elections.