The Gambia Press Union organized capacity building forum for journalists on Civic Education and Election Reporting currently underway at Tango has reached its climax, as participants now embark on the field practical works.
The training supported by GPU and its partner, International Republican Institute, was in two folds, covering both practical and theory aspect with different group works and presentations.
The training attracted 30 participants drawn from both print and electronic media across the country.
Addressing participants on behalf of the Minister of Information Communication and Infrastructure, Malick Jones, deputy permanent secretary at the MoICI, applauded GPU, the umbrella body of the journalists in the country for its quest to build the capacity of its members.
DPS Jones expounded on the importance of election reporting as well as civic education, saying the latter respect the rights of the people.”
Civic education, PS Jones went on, may be considered as a broad term meant to increase the citizen’s knowledge about principle and feature associated with government such as the political system.
PS Jones reminded that journalists must take note that the purpose of civic education and voter education campaigns are often not purely informative, but a move meant to encourage and provide incentive to increase the overall engagement of voter turn-out in a country.
“As electoral processes are more institutionalised and increasingly conducted in compliance with rules, voters’ education becomes a more prominent task in activities of the electoral bodies. And voters education programmes will target all voters but special attention should be directed to historically marginalised or disadvantage voters,” he added.
Recognising the importance of the profession in the society, Alieu Momar Njie, chairman Independent Electoral Commission, averred that journalists are key in all sectors and that they need to report event how it exactly happened as their profession demands.
With the new found freedom, Njie went on, journalists should not been arrested as they are free to do their job openly and transparently as possibly as they can.
Njie assured them of his commission’s all time support and commitment with updating journalists whenever the need arises especially on issues regarding election matters.
Emily Touray, President of The Gambia Press Union and Honourable Samba Jallow, the minority leader at the National Assembly, all expressed similar sentiments.
by Yunus S. Saliu, Fatou Sowe & Lamarana Jallow of the Daily Observer