Thursday, May 2, 2013

World Press Freedom Day: Pess Union’s policy dialogue to analyse media situation in The Gambia

World Press Freedom Day
World Press Freedom Day (Photo credit: United Nations - Geneva)
The Gambia Press Union has said it will celebrate World Press Freedom Day in a form of a “policy dialogue” which is meant to engage in an analytical overview of the media situation in The Gambia and its ramifications on national development.

“Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media” is the theme for this year’s May 3 World Press Freedom Day.

The media and journalists in the tiny West African nation have seen numerous violations of press freedom and free expression for over a decade – ranging from harassment, arrests and detention, exile, arsons, disappearance and in some instances, killed.

On Tuesday, the GPU said the “discussions will focus on the political and economic space for a free and vibrant independent media in the country”.

“This will raise the question as to how the Government as the primary duty bearer can create the necessary enabling environment to reflect the fact that freedom of expression is a catalyst to sustainable socio-economic development,” Secretary General Gibairu Janneh said.

The Gambia’s new Minister of Information, Nana Grey-Johnson, a veteran journalist-cum politician, is expected to speak on World Press Freedom Day to be held at The Association of Non Governmental Organisations of The Gambia, TANGO, Bakau.

Sam Sarr, Managing Editor of Foroyaa newspaper will speak on “the law and the media”, and Lamin Nyangado of Action Aid International The Gambia speaks on “the role of the media in policy making and development processes” – amid discussions.

The GPU once again call on The Gambia Government to critically reflect on the dire situation confronting the media and journalists in this country, the journalists body said. “…with a view to reviewing policies, laws and the entire political environment so as to create and expand the space for freedom of expression and a free press to flourish”.

GPU’s partners TANGO and the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ) are organizing Friday’s World Press Freedom Day in collaboration with the Press Union.

As part of celebrations, the Union will preside over a procession from the traffic lights along Kairaba Avenue to the TANGO Office. The GPU last held a procession to mark world press freedom day in 2003, FPI is told.

In December 1993, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted May 3 as World Press Freedom Day, following a recommendation adopted at the 26th session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 1991 Windhoek, Namibia.

That Seminar led to the adoption of the Windhoek Declaration on Promoting Independent and Pluralistic Media which calls for the establishment, maintenance and fostering of an independent, pluralistic and free.

On this Day, journalists and media practitioners reflect on the challenges of press freedom and free expression, salute colleagues who have fallen victims of violations and recognise others who made significant contributions to free expression and freedom of the press.  


Written by Modou S. Joof

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