Tuesday, September 28, 2010

NHRJ Builds Capacity for its Members

“21st Century Brought a Lot of Human Rights Challenges”

VOL:1 ISSN:31 A training for human right journalists on media laws, African and International human rights system, research, networking, monitoring and documentation kicks-off on Monday 21st December, 2009 at The Gambia Press Union Secretariat (GPU), along Garba Jahumpa Road, Bakau.
The training which is set aside for 50 media personnel is organised by The Network of Human Rights Journalists-The Gambia (NHRJ).
Speaking at the opening, Mr. Emil Touray, the Secretary General of the GPU underscored the need for such a training to be conducted, as many believed that Human Rights is a Western concept but, “I believe that after this training, most of you will go back with the notion that Human Rights is universal concept.”
He said that it is the role of journalists to enlighten the people of their human rights but this role cannot be executed well without having the essential expertise, adding that these are universal values that we should work towards achieving.

“We should also make sure that our sentiments are push aside when reporting on human rights issues,” he tasked. Moreover, he expressed gratitude to the United States Embassy for sponsoring the project and urged the network to continue its hard work and keep it moving.
In his opening remarks, the Editor-In-Chief of Forayaa, Mr. Samuel Sarr said as the movement of democracy continues to role, we are faced with a lot of human right challenges, but journalists should remain steadfast in executing their duty.
“It is common knowledge that the constitution guarantees human rights and adjudicators in the exercise of their functions are explored to act independently, impartially without affection or ill will,” he highlighted.
Mr. Sarr also noted that the protection of human rights is not only the responsibility of the civil society but also the responsibility of the three arms of government (the Executive, Judiciary and Legislature) to protect and respect human rights and freedom of expression.
Mr. Sarr said that fundamental rights and freedom of expression are constantly violent in this 21 century. “As media practitioners, it is incumbent upon us to play our role in making sure that fundamental rights and freedom of expression are respected,” he stressed.
For this part the Coordinator of the Network, Musa S. Sheriff said the Network of Human Rights Journalists (NHRJ) is a non-political, non-governmental and non-profit making charitable association of journalists committed to promoting and protecting human and people’s rights as guaranteed in The Gambian constitution.
He added that the Association’s vision is to ensure a human rights friendly world by restoring and maintaining a vibrant independent press operation in a democratic and free society.
“This can be achieved through embarking on promotional campaigns and mass media advocacy programs and activities,” he said. He said: “considering the numerous challenges confronting our society’s developmental activities, the Network solicited support from the American Embassy for the establishment of a secretariat and training for our members to enable us play a more proactive role in promoting human rights and freedom of expression.”
Sheriff also expresses gratitude to the United States Embassy in Banjul for funding the programme and activities of the Network, through the Ambassador’s Self Help Project, Democracy and Human Rights Fund.

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