GPU urges Gov’t to reflect on situation of media

As Union marks World Press Freedom Day in style

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By Sanna Camara

The Gambia Press Union has called on the Gambia Government to “critically reflect on the dire situation confronting the media and journalists in this country with a view to reviewing policies, laws and the entire political environment.”

The Union believes that such is necessary so as to create and expand the space for freedom of expression and a free press to flourish.

“This would augur well for national development, which would also earn the Government more respect as it will be seen to be acting in line with the constitution and in fulfilment of the obligations placed on the Gambia by regional and international instruments ratified by our Government,” a press release from the union states.

“Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media.”

In spite of these constitutional guarantees of freedom of the press, the space for a free and vibrant independent media in The Gambia continues to be shrinking, the release argued. The theme for World Press Freedom Day 2013 is “Safe to Speak: Securing Freedom of Expression in All Media.”

The Gambia Press Union will on Friday morning embark on a procession starting from Africell Junction to the TANGO Secretariat in Fajara. The procession, which is meant for only media practitioners, is permitted by the office of the Inspector General of Police.

 A policy dialogue on freedom of expression

In partnership with The Association of Non-Governmental Organizations (TANGO) and The International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), the Union will also convene a policy dialogue on freedom of expression with the above theme after the procession.

“We bring this theme to a national context by organizing the first ever policy dialogue on Freedom of Expression with a view to engaging the Government and other stakeholders in a frank discussion on the necessity of a free and vibrant media for the promotion of good and accountable governance, the promotion of human rights and sustainability development in The Gambia.

“The aim of the discussion is to engage in an analytical overview of the media situation in The Gambia and its ramifications on national development. 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,” the release states.

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