Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Media Honed To Get It Right On Disaster Reportage

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  • GPU President exhorts for balance media reportage in forthcoming elections
  • Media Honed To Get It Right On Disaster Reportage
  • US welcome ICTR conviction of Former Rwandan Minister of Women’s Development
  • Road Accident Claims Lives of 8 Students
  • The Role of UTG in Instilling Values of Community Service and Responsible Citizenship
  • Saint Joseph’s: A school with a tradition of excellence
  • Women’s football teams ‘Give AIDS the Red Card’

  • GPU President exhorts for balance media reportage in forthcoming electionsMedia Honed To Get It Right On Disaster Reportage

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.

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.

  • The Role of UTG in Instilling Values of Community Service and Responsible Citizenship

The notion of community service is an integral part of African life in general, it is the desire to be able to serve a purpose that is not confined by the boundaries of "self."

Conventional wisdom indicates that universities, traditionally, have concentrated in the training of the elite workforce and as such, most higher education programmes were being oriented to prepare the human resources needed to innovate, lead, and manage production processes and services offered by the public, civil and private sector.

As President Obama once remarked, community service is “an activity that binds us to each other and to our communities and our country.” Underscoring the belief that community service is an indispensable element of higher education and it teaches students the values of teamwork and ethical behaviour thereby developing their leadership and problem-solving skills.

Community service are programmes linked to higher education that involves participants in activities, designed to deliver social benefits to a particular community in ways that teach the participants to work jointly towards achieving the common goal. Participation in community service usually involves a degree of personal sacrifice in terms of time and convenience.

In a presentation at the Francis DeGaulle Njie Foundation’s Motivational Lecture on 10 June 2011, Mr. Ismaila Ceesay, a lecturer at the University of The Gambia (UTG) presented a paper on the role of university education in instilling values of community service and responsible citizenship using UTG as a case study.

Within the ambit and context of the definition of community service, Mr Ceesay’s presentation seeks to shed light on community service in the context of University education in The Gambia.

He said little empirical research or evaluation of existing community service programmes has been done in the country, however, he said the UTG plays a key role in inspiring its students to have the desire, energy and ability and apply the acquired knowledge to help transform their communities.

The UTG endeavors towards strategizing effective responses to address challenging societal needs and take part significantly in the promotion of self-sustained development, by contributing to ensure that Gambians wholeheartedly render services to their communities, he said.

This, he said includes encouraging social outreach programmes through the Student Union and other clubs operating within the union to become valuable members of society.

He noted the UTG’s commitment to developing civic values and preparing students to become productive citizens through community service.

This form of service learning is an educational development designed to enhance student learning and to provide civic development by encouraging the integration of classroom learning with community service. “These efforts reflect the sentiment that university education plays an active role in preparing the country’s citizens to face the contemporary global challenges,” he said.

Mr Ceesay also noted that community work encompasses diverse areas, including: education, health, and the transfer of technology, support for local productive activities, social organization and recreation.

He revealed that the UTG have provided institutional and moral support to various clubs that are engaged in service learning, citing Social Sciences and Humanities Student Association (SoSHSA) as one of the most vibrant associations in the University.

The SoSHSA is anchored on several intellectual objectives which are designed to ensure positive service to the community and the society at large. In a bid to expose students to practical development issues, the association recently embarked on a five-day working visit to the Lower River Region of The Gambia, with the aim of exposing students to the rural environment and to explore some of the realities of rural Gambia.

During this period, the SoSHSA hold a debate and a seminar with a view to exchanging knowledge with students from Junior and Senior Secondary Schools in the region.

The science club also actively engages in radio talk shows on waste management, geared towards sensitizing the public on how they can manage their waste appropriately, and reducing the health hazards associated with careless waste dumping.

Mr Ceesay described the Gambia Students Service Learning Association (GSSLA), as a group of young students interested in enriching their academic lives by engaging in providing hands-on service to the community, through which they gain valuable experiences integrated into their academic objectives and to prepare them for their future careers.

They engage in tree planting, awareness and sensitisation campaigns on environmental protection, international internship programmes, countrywide study tours, and coordinating summer schools at basic and secondary levels.

“The last three to four decades has ushered in an era of rapid globalization, gaining impetus from the revolution of Communication and information technologies. This era comes with a plethora of challenges,” he said.

“We are witnessing rapid socio-economic, technological and informational transformations taking place in modern sectors of this highly globalize society. Higher education institutions, especially universities, are not immune to these challenges. Therefore, modern Universities are forced to adjust their pedagogical policies to be able to provide timely and proper responses to an urgent need for distributed learning opportunities.

To effectively grapple these challenges, concerted global efforts are needed.

  • US welcome ICTR conviction of Former Rwandan Minister of Women’s Development

The United States said it welcomes the June 24 International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) conviction of Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, former Rwandan Minister of Women’s Development and her son, Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, both of whom were convicted for genocide and rape as a crime against humanity, among other crimes.

The court also convicted former civilian officials Sylvain Nsabimana, Joseph Kanyabashi and Élie Ndayambaje and former Lt. Colonel Alphonse Nteziryayo, as part of the same indictment. The court sentenced Nyiramasuhuko, Ntahobali and Ndayambaje to life imprisonment, and Kanyabashi, Nteziryayo and Nsabimana to 35, 30 and 25 years respectively.

In a media statement, Victoria Nuland, Spokesperson of the US State Department said this ruling is an important step in providing justice and accountability for the Rwandan people and the international community.

“This conviction is a significant milestone because it demonstrates that rape is a crime of violence and it can be used as a tool of war by both men and women.”

Nyiramasuhuko was convicted for her role in aiding and abetting rapes and for her responsibility as a superior who ordered rapes committed by members of the Interahamwe militia.

There are still nine ICTR fugitives at-large and the United States urges all countries to redouble their cooperation with the ICTR so that these fugitives can be expeditiously arrested and brought to justice.
Côte d’Ivoire: EU lifts the restrictions

In a separate development, the Council of the European Union decided on June 27 to lift the restrictions on the last three entities subject to an EU assets freeze, in order to support the country’s economic recovery.

Under the measures adopted on Monday, the Côte d’Ivoire Association of Natural Rubber Producers (APROCANCI), National Electricity Management (SOGEPE) and Ivorian Radio and Television (RTI) are delisted.

The assets freeze was lifted for an initial four entities on 8 April 2011 and for six more on 29 April 2011.

The implementing Decision and Regulation were adopted by the Council under written procedure and will be published in the Official Journal of the EU on 27 June 2011, the EU Council said in a media statement.

  • Women’s football teams ‘Give AIDS the Red Card’
Captains of national football teams competing in the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 soccer championship in Germany are signing up to the Give AIDS the Red Card appeal in support of a global plan to eliminate new HIV infections among children by 2015.

The “Give AIDS the Red Card appeal”, which was launched by the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) one year ago at the FIFA 2010 World Cup in South Africa, uses the power and outreach of football to unite the world around stopping new HIV infections in children.

In a press release distributed by the Africa Press Organization (APO) on behalf of UNAIDS, the Executive Director Michel Sidibé said “As the most important international competition in women's football, this tournament provides a platform to raise global awareness about the campaign to keep babies from becoming infected with HIV, and their mothers from dying from AIDS.”

Every day more than 1000 babies are born with HIV. However with access to HIV counseling and testing for pregnant women and their partners, and treatment when needed, the risk of transmission can be brought down to less than five percent.

On signing the pledge on June 24, team captains appeal to football players and fans across the world to “celebrate life and support the global campaign to prevent mothers from dying and babies from becoming infected with HIV”.

The FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 is taking place from 26 June to 17 July. So far five captains have signed the appeal; Faye White (England), Sandrine Soubeyrand (France), Rebecca Smith (New Zealand), Ingvild Stensland (Norway), and Christie Rampone (United States).

“One of the great things about representing our country on the big stages is the opportunity for us to support causes we care about,” said U.S. Women’s World Cup Team captain Christie Rampone. “I signed onto a global campaign called Give AIDS the Red Card which helps to generate political action towards ending the AIDS epidemic among babies and young children around the world. I am confident about linking this noble cause with the game we all cherish.”

Rampone, who is among the more experienced U.S. players and will be playing in her fourth World Cup added, “UNAIDS asked the U.S. soccer team to help lead this campaign around the world, and we are happy to lend our support on a global stage to a global problem. The UN wants to end pediatric AIDS by 2015 and so do we!”

The captains of the other competing teams, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Equatorial Guinea, Germany, Japan, DPR Korea, Mexico, Nigeria, and Sweden, will also be encouraged to become “Red Card Advocates” by signing the appeal during the tournament and publicize global efforts to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV by 2015.

There are 34 million people globally living with HIV, of whom 22.5 million are in sub-Saharan Africa. Despite progress towards the goal of eliminating new HIV infections among children, in 2009 alone there were 370, 000 children born with HIV, bringing to 2.5 million the total number of children under 15 living with HIV.

The 2011 Women’s World Cup is one of several high-profile football championships, including the 2012 African Nations Cup and UEFA Euro 2012, leading up to the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, that can provide platforms for raising wide awareness about the campaign to eliminate HIV in children.

  • Source: The Voice

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