The GPU this morning begun a three day training programme for civil servants and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in The Gambia.
Honorable Minister of Information and Communications Infrastructure, Demba Ali Jawo, acknowledged that Right to Inform is a fundamental right. and when people are given the right to information that they can make informed decisions. He recounted what had happened in the past government including arbitrarily arrests of journalists, ban of media houses and arbitrary charges on individuals who are alleged to have given false information. He urged all present to be responsible in enjoying the new found freedom to express themselves. “Freedom goes with responsibility, we must make sure that we guard the freedom we have and we can do that by not taking it for granted,” he said. Hon Jawo indicated that the Ministry has started public sensitisation on freedom of information to ensure that when the law is passed, its implementation will not be a problem. He commended the GPU and its partners for the good work being done to achieve a comprehensive media reform in The Gambia.
In his opening remarks, President of GPU, Emil Touray urged participants not to abuse the new found freedom that Gambians are enjoying. He said it will be important for all to guard the freedom to freely express themselves after the several years that the nation has struggled to fight repression. He therefore urged the participants to take advantage of the training to learn about freedom of expression and access to information.
The Secretary General of the GPU, Saikou Jammeh noted that the forum was timely as the forum was to prepare the minds of the individuals to ensure that there when the state puts things in place to start the processes of the right to information law. He noted that the forum will ensure that participants are exposed to freedom of expression including principles, limitations, international mechanisms and instruments.
Madi Jobarteh, Deputy Executive Director of TANGO said the training is timely and urged all participants t take advantage of it.
The opening session of the forum was chased by Mr Ebrima Njie, Deputy Director, Gambia Information Services.