GAMBIAJOURNALISTS AND MEDIA PRACTITIONERS COMMEMORATES WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY 2014
By Abdoulie Jammeh in Banjul, May 12, 2014
Gambian Journalists and Media Practitioners under the auspicies of The Gambia Press Union (GPU), in partnership with the The Association of Non Governmental Organisations (TANGO) and UNESCO NATCOM over the weekend joined the global media fraternity to commemorate World Press Freedom Day (WPFD) 2014 held at the TANGO conference hall, along Berthl Harding Highway in the Kanifing Municipality. World Press Freedom Day ( WPFD) is commemorated annually to raise awareness of the importance of freedom of the press and to remind Governments of their duty to respect and uphold the right to freedom of expression as enshrined under article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and marking the Declaration of Windhoek in 1991. WPFD is also celebrated to appreciate and recognise those fallen and great media practitioners who used the media as an instrument to contribute to the socio-economic advancement and the development of mankind and their respect countries as well as those to remember those who lost their lives in the course of their duty as messengers of truth.
The Day was highly attended by a cross section of media chiefs, veteran Journalists, members of the civil society, politicians and practicing journalists from the different newsstands within the country on the theme " Reaching news goals; A Free Media Fortifies the Post 2015 development agenda" The Secretary General of the Gambia Press Union (GPU), Gibairu Janneh in his opening statement reminded the gathering of the significance of the day as it is also commemorated to remember fallen colleagues who were victimized for nothing or guilt but for speaking the truth. "As we celebrate this years WPFD, we call on the Gambia Government to uphold section 207 of the 1997 which states the operation of free media 208 and provides to ensuring the publication of decent and diverging views in State Media" he remarked.
Mr. Janneh, on behalf of the GPU paid tribute to late Veteran Journalist and Co-publisher of The Point Newspaper, Mr. Deyda Hydara who was brutally and gruesomely assasinated on 16th Dec 2004 while driving off from work and Former Daily Observer Crime Watch Columnist and Senior Reporter, Chief Ebrima Manneh who mysteriously disappeared since July 7th 2006. Janneh pleaded with the state to helping in the investigations of the cause of their arrests, detention, disappearance and murders of Journalists and bring perpretrators to justice. "We are thanking and commending all Gambian journalists in the Print, Electronic and online media for their steadfast, dedication and courage in the cause of their work. We equally extend our appreciation and thanks to our partners and members of the public for their recognition and standing with us despite the hard times. Mr. Janneh, however advised Journalists and Media Practitioners to spread the truth and centre their respective works and practice on professionalism and ethical standards.
Al Matarr Jobe, UNESCO NATCOM Executive Secretary said World Press Freedom Day 2014 is funded by the UNESCO Regional Office of West Africa in Dakar, as part of their advocacy campaign to linking freedom of speech and responsibility and avoiding double standards. "WPFD is celebrated to evaluate Press Freedom around the world, to defend the media from attacks in their independence and pay tribute to Journalists who have lost their in the exercise of their professionalism" said Mr. Jobe. Ousman Yabo, Executive Director of TANGO also made similar remarks and wondered how the world would look like without the vibrancy of compelete media.
Babucarr Ceesay, 1st Vice President of GPU, in a Solidarity statement renewed the call on Government to respect the ECOWAS Court's to produce and compensate Chief Ebrima Manneh who went missing since July 7th 2006 and his whereabouts still remained unknown to his family, colleagues and the public. The same court recommended for the compensation of Musa Saidykhan, a former editor at the arbitrary closed and defunct Independence Newspaper, who was arrested, detained and tortured in detention. "We call on the state to prosecute killers of Deyda Hydara who was shoot in cold on Dec 16th in 2004 and Omar Barrow, who was also shot dead in April 2000, during a student protest and demonstration" Ceesay appealed. He also called on Gambian authorities to re-open daily The Daily News, which was forced out of the newsstands for more than a year without a court order. "We are also calling on the Gambian Government to repeal all draconian media laws to be in line with International standards" he opined. Ceesay reiterated the demand for media environment to be free from intimidation, abitrary arrest and detention without trial, disappearance, torture, killings and all forms of human beings violations designed to gag and silence the media in the Gambia.
Mr. Samuel Sarr, the Managing Editor of Foroyaa Newspaper speaking on the topic ‘free media contribute to good governance, empowerment and eradicating poverty' highlighted that, the fight against poverty has to rely on an enabling environment in which freedom of expression, access to information and the media are respected and can thrive.He said this will enable citizens and the media to scrutinize their elected representatives and public officers. He said this in turn will require developing and adopting freedom of information laws, decriminalizing defamation and putting an end to the abuse of defamation and sedition laws by those in power to stifle legitimate criticisms and investigative journalism, building constitutional guarantees to freedom of expression, etc.“This is in line with section 207 of the constitution which gives the media the responsibility to hold the government of The Gambia accountable to the people. The people have the right to hold the government accountable for their promises, obligations and actions.They have a right to engage in debates, panel discussions, symposia and talk shows in which they freely express their views on all issues, including the policies and actions of the government of the day,” said Editor Sarr. He pointed out that closing media houses without proper legal process is to shut the mouths and tie the hands of the amplifier of the voices of the voiceless who wish to make a point and who need to be heard.Elected representatives should be responsive to the people, he added.
Various speakers including Ahmed Alota of the GPA, Alex Dacosta of the UN, Almameh Taal and Suwaibou Conateh, veteran Journalist and Publisher, all made similar statements and remarks on Freedom of the Press, responsible media on the post 2015 development agenda. The commemoration also of characterized of open question and answer session between journalists and legal and veteran Journalists.
NUSRAT PRESS CLUB HOLDS 2ND EDTION OF PRESS TRAINING
By Abdoulie Jammeh, Student Reporter
NUSRAT HIGH SCHOOL, 07 March 2014
Nusrat Press Club, in its quest to promoting student journalism and ethical media practice among the student folk in the Gambia, on Friday 07th March 2014 held a day-long press training for its newly recruited members on basic ethics of media practice, news writing, reporting, interview tips amongst others.
The training which was intended to capacitise and meant to equip and upgrade new members of the club with the requisite skill and knowledge on student journalism, brought together the club’s executives, general membership and few selected qualified journalists from both the print and electronic medias within the country.
In his welcoming remark, Mr. Abdou Kabir Daffeh, ex President of the Club and English and Literature teacher at the school, warmly welcomed the students and the guest from the media fraternity who graced the occasion. Mr. Daffeh underscored the importance of student journalism as the foundation and pace for young aspiring journalists who wants to explore and pursue a professional journalism career. “Nusrat Press is one of the most vibrant and active school- based press organization in the Gambia with a view to inculcating social, academic and moral values into its members for excellence and a brighter future” he asserted. He elaborated on the timeliness of the training and finally called on members to demonstrate commitment and participate massively for better understanding of what journalism means and entailed.
The acting President of Nusrat Press Club, Abdoulie Jammeh gave an introductory statement of the objective of the training which he noted is aimed to the sharing of ideas and exchange of knowledge between aspiring journalists and media professionals. He outlined on the significance of the dissemination of credible and accurate as unconfirmed and inaccurate reports could be chaotic and unethical. “The media is one of the most fundamental medium and tool for reaching-out vital information to a wide range of audience and readership. Therein, it plays an integral part to nation building and the daily lives of people across the globe” Abdoulie was quoted as saying.
He also poised that the world would have been dim and antique if not the vibrancy of the media and its professionals. He challenged the trainees to exhibit dedication, seriousness and competency during the course of the training.
The training which witnessed the participation of over 20 press members was composited of interactive sessions on basic ethics of journalism, news coverage and writing, interview tips and presentation skills. Doubtful questions were raised by students on the evolution of the media and inevitable challenges encountered by pressmen and how they’re subjugated and put under control. The various trainers called on members to be honest as journalists, dedication to service and cautiousness to the arising challenges from the society and other intelligence bodies as errors or misconducts might lead to humiliation, serious court charges i.e. libel, espionage and slander etc.
_ “THE BATTLE OF THE 21st CENTURY IS THE EVOLUTION OF IDEAS AND INVENTIONS NOT FIRE ARMS” SAYS HON. HALIFA SALLAH
By Abdoulie Jammeh, Student Reporter, Nusrat High School, The Gambia, 20 February 2014
The Secretary General of the People’s Democratic Organisation for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS), Hon. Halifa Sallah has said that the battle of the 21st century is the battle of new ideas, inventions and technologies for the benefit of man and to his environment, and not the use of heavy arms and ammunitions to cause havoc and devastating destructions. Hon. Sallah made these remarks while speaking as the guest speaker of the Nusrat High school Career Day held on Thursday 05thFebruary, 2014 at the school’s Signateh Hall.
Hon. Sallah, in a marathon speech that grabbed the attention of keen listening students reiterated on the importance of choosing a meaningful and unique career, which he said, is a fundamental step and pillar in one’s life and to his successes. “Your minds must be open for knowledge and information of relevance to development because closed minds are always myopic” he opined to students.
He also used the occasion to elaborate on different aspects of life, education, and societal development in the Gambia. “Development is about choice and challenge and therefore it’s your education and career that serves as your compass to locate and overcome those challenges and obstacles to triumph” he added.
“A career is profession you do to earn income for self-development and survival,” he told the gathering. “The effects of colonialism are the inability of Africans to manufacture or invent their own machines and materials but rather depend on imported bulk of goods from Europe and the Americas” Hon. Sallah was quoted as saying.
He advised them to be steadfast and take the difficulties they encounter as a challenge to be who they are, work hard as well as make new inventions and theories for the sustainability of the society and subjugate the challenging pains to gains. “Be committed and serious with your education, choose a good career, and you would succeed in your endeavours” he implored on the students.
The daylong event that was organised by the Government and History (GOVHIS) club of Nusrat Senior Secondary School was graced and attended by members of the school’s Admin & teaching staff, students, professors and graduate students from different faculties at the University of The Gambia (UTG) and was intended toenlighten and equip High students with the requisite knowledge on the diverse careers within the three (3) academic fields of Arts, Commerce & Science.
Several speakers spoke at length on the importance of career choosing and development, and others took turn to share their experience and challenges on their respective journeys to choosing a career that ends up being their professional occupations and source of livelihoods. The occasion was also characterized of some interlude of music entertainment, question and answer session on career choosing and development, poem recitation and drama sketches by students, all were aimed at portraying the importance of a career, challenges students face in choosing the careers of their choices and stern decisions that are usually taken by certain parents on the careers of their children.