Journalists drawn from both print and electronic media, 15th July, began a 5-day long training on civic education and election reporting at the TANGO Conference Hall in Bakau.
Convened by the Gambia Press Union (GPU), the training is aimed at developing the capacities of journalists and harness their election reporting skills ahead of what is seem to be an interesting mayoral and councillorship elections in April, 2018.
The President of GPU, Mr. Emil Touray, described the training as ‘groundbreaking’, saying as it seeks to positively change the way journalists work. He said for journalists to be able to impact on the lives of others, their skills must be harnessed. It is behind this backdrop, he went on, the Union solicited funding to stage the training.
For Emil Touray, the new democratic dispensation that guaranteed freedom of speech and expression should be used by journalists in good faith.
The Minority Leader, Honorable Samba Bah, said the press played a pivotal role in bringing back the country to its democratic footing. He said the training is timely as the local government election is drawing closer.
The Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Alieu Momar Njai, highlighted the significance of the role of journalists. He said civil servants, including the IEC, are answerable to journalists.
While assuring the Commission’s open-door policy for journalists, he spoke about the need for reforming the country’s electoral laws.
Malick Jones, Deputy Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure, said civic education is crucial and that journalists should be conscious of the pivotal role they play in the awareness process. He said journalists should work in good faith to promote the values of free, fair and transparent elections.