At least 25 journalists have commenced a two-month intensive investigative journalism training at the University of The Gambia.
The training is jointly implemented by The Gambia Press Union (GPU) and University of The Gambia School of Journalism with funding from Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA).
Information and Communication Infrastructure minister Ebrima Sillah said at the start of the training yesterday that Gambian media, like the rest of state institutions, are in transition and are trying to adapt to a rapidly changing environment.
He commend the GPU and the UTG for the foresight and pro-activeness in putting in place a curriculum that is geared towards creating quality investigation journalism which, he said will in turn foster a more robust economic environment for the independent and professional media. “There is no doubt that although investigative journalism is an expensive exercise, journalism with the adequate skills and tools to disseminate verifiable information to the public are a necessary force to monitor, report, hold to account and where necessary expose corruption and other forms of malpractices.”
Minister Sillah said this lapse has also opened the floodgates of quack, cheque book and street journalism, saying as such, it is commendable that GPU has taken the lead in raising the bar and in helping its members and Gambian journalists to connect with their audiences and by extension, allow The Gambian public access credible, relevant information from journalists and the media.
He said Gambia media is a crucial factor in ensuring that the changes that Gambians yearn for are registered and measured. “In so doing, sometimes very uncomfortable reporting and coverage will also enable the government to reflect on and put in place corrective measures where necessary to ensure that the set targets and objectives are met.”
Gambia Press Union secretary general Saikou Jammeh said Gambian media actually went through brutality in the former government, saying it went to an extent that journalism was not effective in the country but when the new government came; the GPU assessed the media environment and produced a comprehensive media reform framework for the Gambia.
He declared that the course would help in a long way in equipping journalists to effectively function in their duties.
Samba Fall, a lecturer at the UTG emphasised on the significance of the training, adding that the participants will be well equipped at the end of the training.
Author: Momodou Jawo & Pa Modou Cham