The Minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure, Demba Ali Jawo, has advised journalists to be security-conscious during election coverage. He made this remark whilst presiding over the closing ceremony of a three-day training course for journalists on elections coverage and security in the electoral process, held at the TANGO conference Hall by Article 19 in partnership with Gambia Press Union (GPU).
The participants were drawn from both the print and electronic media.
Minister Jawo said the security of journalists during coverage is important, especially during elections, when they are dealing with people who are in a competition and with different interests.
The training course was, therefore, not only important but also timely as the country is about to go the polls again for one of the most competitive elections in the history of The Gambia.
He said all the 53 constituencies are being contested, and there are about 239 candidates participating in the election across the country, with some constituencies having as many as nine candidates.
It is, therefore, quite a challenge for journalists to ensure candidates are covered fairly and with objectivity, as candidates with competitive interests might always find issues with reports, hence reporters should be mindful of their own security.
“In the new Gambia, let me assure you that in the new government our intention is to become as media-friendly as we possibly could.
“Our intention is to create an environment conducive for all journalists to perform their profession without any intimidation or discrimination because as far as we are concerned we see the journalists as partners in national development.”
He added: “I can assure you that we are going to give you the right atmosphere to operate.”