|YJAG Asst. Sec. Modou S. Joof|
The Assistant Secretary General of the Young Journalists Association of The Gambia (YJAG) Mr Modou S. Joof has disproved of claims that YJAG is an “opponent” of the Gambia Press Union (GPU).
Mr Joof was speaking on Sunday during the Triennial Congress of the GPU June 24-26, on the “expectations of ordinary members, associate members; the nature and definition of sub-groupings their relationship with the GPU. How to improve or strengthen relations”.
“As an affiliate body, YJAG has sometimes been identified both locally and internationally as an opponent of the GPU,” he said. “I want to make it very clear that this is an identity that we want to distance ourselves from.”
He admitted the fact that the GPU is number one journalists’ body in the country, and they’ve been members of the Union before creating an affiliate body. He said: “For this reason, we will endeavour to work with the GPU in it strives for a free press, freedom of expression and the safety and security of Gambian journalists.”
Mr Joof, who is also the news editor of The Voice newspaper, a privately-owned publication, noted that YJAG, founded in September 2007, is built on the motto: Capacity building, duty to inform. Its aims are to provide its members with their training needs; promoting the welfare of young journalists; and facilitating the recruitment of aspiring journalists into the profession.
He said as a compliment to the GPU, YJAG has conducted a series of successful trainings for its members, and some extend would like to work with the GPU in this area.
“In as much as it’s working towards attaining a better welfare for young journalist and journalist in the country, it is also important for the GPU to take note of and address certain issues that have been raised during the congress,” he stressed. “Capacity constraints have been a major challenge and the GPU need to step-up its efforts to take the profession where it is expected to be.”
In response to Mr Joof, the ex-Secretary General and now President of the GPU, Bai Emil Touray said YJAG was seen to be undermining the GPU because its former executive has written to the West African Journalists Association, WAJA and the International Journalists Federation, IFJ seeking affiliation when they have not done so with the GPU.
However, YJAG’s founder and former President Nfamara Jawneh strongly refutes Emil’s stance. “As far as I know, as former president of YJAG, I have never written to any international body seeking affiliation. And I do not know anyone in the former executive who has done so,” he stressed.
Emil had earlier on said they have the correspondence, but Nfamara contested that and challenge him to produce a print out of it.
Other affiliate members of the GPU also urge the Union to adjust to the capacity needs of its members. Among them, the Network of Human Rights Journalist - The Gambia (NHRJ), Sports Journalists Association of The Gambia (SJAG), Association of Health Journalists (AOHJ), Association of Women Journalists, the newly formed Network of Judicial Correspondents, among others.
- Source: The Voice Newspaper