Thursday, July 7, 2011

GPU President exhorts for balance media reportage in forthcoming elections

New GPU President Bai Emil Touray
The newly elected President of The Gambia Press Union (GPU) Mr. Bai Emil Touray said journalist are duty bound to give accurate and balance reportage within the principles of best practice in the upcoming presidential elections.

He was speaking to The Voice at the end of the Triennial Congress of the GPU on June 26 at the Gambia Telecommunications and Multimedia Institute in Kanifing.

Mr Touray said journalists should refrain from stereotyping candidates contesting for the presidency regardless of their political agenda, and socio-economic backgrounds.

He also urge journalists to give various parties an opportunity for equal coverage, however, he stressed that journalists should desist from publishing statements that are not in the interest of the public and are likely to disturb peace.

According to him, journalists should also give the public clear information on the manifestoes of various political parties in order to help them make informed choices.

Mr. Sam Sarr, an adviser to the GPU and the Managing Editor of Foroyaa noted that the Executive are elected periodically to serve the people and they are accountable to the people.

He said during elections, the executive render account to the people and the people decides weather to return them in office or to elect a new executive and the media has a role to hold them accountable to the people.

“The media have a very important role to play in elections, not only during the campaign period but also during polling. Journalists most accurately disseminate the views of all the candidates in the campaign trail,” he said.

“Impartiality and fairness are essential in this regard and it is through this the electorate will be properly informed about the policies, programmes and practices of the contending candidates, this will enable them to make an informed choice,” he outlined.

However, he said it is needless to say that lack of information on the part of the electorate impinges on the credibility of an election, but election and monitoring on polling day by journalists is crucial because the entire world need to know whether the election is free and fair.

“It will therefore not be an exaggeration to say that without media coverage, we cannot affirm the freeness and fairness of the election,” he said.

Media Honed To Get It Right On Disaster Reportage

Sooner had the rains began to fall than the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA) hone journalists to get it right on disaster reportage during a “consultative forum and training on coordinated disaster coverage and reporting”.

The forum, held over the weekend at the National Nutrition Agency (NaNA) in Banjul, came as a result of lessons learnt during the 2010 rainy season in relation to media coverage on disaster issues, the NDMA said.

This, the NDMA said it is in line with the Disaster Management Act. The Agency said it has been faced with numerous conflicting media reportage on last year’s flood.

In his opening remarks, the Executive Director NDMA Essa Khan noted that the media has a crucial role to play in disaster situation. “The media plays a curial role during last year’s floods and has enabled us as an agency to see some of the devastating effects it has cause to the affected populace.”

He said the Agency has enabled them to advise government on ways and means of assisting disaster victims, planning and preparedness in mitigating disaster in this country. Disaster brings about development, but also causes development challenges which need to be addressed holistically to enable the country achieved its blue print development plan (Vision 2020), the millennium development goals (MDGs) and the Programme for accelerate growth and employment (PAGE) in 2015.

He said it’s therefore important for the media to take it up as a responsibility to educate and informed the general public on the effect of disaster. And to help them understand that there is a shift from managing crises to managing risks and to empower disaster victims.

It is therefore important for the media to give accurate and balance reporting during disasters, he said.

Karabulie Conteh, the President of the network of disaster management journalists (NDMJ) urges colleagues to disseminate accurate information about disaster. He said it is high time to engage our various media outlets with a view to sensitize people on prevention and effects of disasters.

He argued that some disaster victims’ lives in areas identified as disaster prone. It is the role and responsibility of the Gambian media to educate and informed the people on the dangers of building settlements on water ports, low land areas and swamps.

  • Road Accident Claims Lives of 8 Students
Information reaching The Voice has it that a serious road accident has claimed the lives of eight (8) students of Konteh Kunda Lower Basic School in Upper Baddibou District, North Bank Region on Friday 23rd June, 2011.

The names of these young people who meet their untimely death are Basiru Secka, Sulayman Bittaye, Babou Secka, Ebrima Secka, Awa Secka, Omar Secka, Haddy Secka and Ndey Kumba Cham all of Kerr Biran.

According to the Headmaster of the School, Mr. Lamin Ceesay, these pupils were coming from school when commercial vehicle with the number BJL 8345G runs into a group of students killing eight on the spot after which the driver was arrested by the police.

He claimed that the driver was speaking on phone and at the same time driving and later lose control of the vehicle and run into these group of students, Grade 3, 5 and 6.

Mr. Ceesay said four others sustain injuries and three (Awa Sowe, Ebou Secka, and Ndey Rohey Secka) of them are admitted at the intensive care unit of Royal Victoria Teaching Hospital in Banjul, the fourth (Haddy Sowe) has since been released by the Farafenni Hospital on Monday 27th June, 2011.

Speaking to the father of the two victims, Mr. Ebou Secka said the saddest thing about this accident is that the entire victims are from the same family. Some are from the same father and mother and the family cannot easily forget about their love ones.

He said the parents of these young boys and girls have nothing; however, they thank God and accepted the incident in good faith and know that what happen is the will of God.

The departed souls have been laid to rest on Monday at Nema Nasirou.

Saint Joseph’s: A school with a tradition of excellence

Dr. Siga Fatima Jagne, a private consultant has described Saint Joseph’s Senior Secondary as a school with a tradition of excellence, which has always enabled its graduates to be successful in any career path they choose.

Dr. Jagne was the guest speaker during an annual graduation ceremony at the School on June 24 in Banjul. She said the students of the school are selfless, compassionate, highly disciplined and high achievers who aim for excellence in everything they do.

Dr. Jagne stressed the importance of choosing further education over early marriage and early pregnancies. “Choose a life of commitment coupled with inspiration, and reflect upon those life experiences that have made an impact on your lives,” she advised.

She challenged the students not to be limit by the stereotypes that women do not study Science or Mathematics and that they should follow the legacy of excellence.

She also underlined the opportunities that are attached to the digitally connected global village, a world that guarantees you a right to education, a right to basic services, gender equality and an opportunity to make informed decisions.

On her part, Ms Anna Coker, the Principal of Saint Joseph’s said her school has provided a conducive learning environment for its students, and this is contributing to the increasing trend of students’ competency and performance.

According to her, the school ensures that the students get a good education and are being provided with opportunities and adequate learning resources geared towards accelerating performance in school.

However, he said: “This year has been a year of transition in the school, following the appointment of a new principal and a vice principal.”

She outlined the enormous role played by different clubs in the school and applauded them for various contributions in producing productive citizens who can play a critical role in their societies.

Ms. Coker told students to take up the good legacy of their predecessors, citing Yolande M Goswell as a student of admirable qualities, a student who has secured nine credits among which she scored five A’s.

Malen Jobe, the outgoing Head Girl of the school exhorts her colleague to remain committed and maintain the hard work.

Saint Joseph’s Senior Secondary School was established in 1921 as a Roman Catholic Mission School for Girls by the Congregation of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Cluny. These selfless women who started Saint Joseph’s had a vision for its students, a vision for excellence, opportunity and a commitment to values and nation. The school policy was to instill self disciplinary values and to provide a model for education.

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