EYEAFRICA TV: Banjul, The Gambia: The Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance –DCAF- and the European Union –EU- Tuesday made formerly hand over of media guide booklet to The Gambia Press Union (GPU), at ActionAid head office along MDI road in Kanifing.
The training guide aims to provide media professionals and civil society organisations with knowledge and basic skills in security sector reform and for the government to enable them to effectively play the crucial role they have in the transitional justice process.
“It should contribute to improve factual reporting, foster properly informed public debate, strengthen non-hostile and constructive relations between the media and security sector institutions,” DCAF Gambia country representative Pansaw Nyassi said.
He said a strong media is not only beneficial to the public, but also for security institutions, saying engaging constructively with the media can add to their own legitimacy and that of security and justice providers.
Mr Nyassi said the main objectives of the guide is to improve factual reporting by the media and fostering informed public debates to enhance the media’s meaningful engagement with the security sector institutions.
Chairperson of the GPU ethical panel, Mustapha Mbye urged journalists to make best used of the guide as the country reforms its security sector. He said the guide will be very helpful to the media, saying as journalists, being ethical is part of their criteria.
Head the EU delegation in The Gambia, Attila Lajos, quoted Edward Snowden as saying that ‘there cannot be faith in the government if our highest offices are excused from scrutiny-they should be setting the example of transparency. He said in the context of the security sector, the role of media is particularly important.
“Media information is an effective tool for citizens to participate in decisions on key issues related to public safety and security, to challenge them, if necessary,” he said.
Mr Lajos said the new cause undertaken by The Gambia should be underpinned by safeguarding of media independence and pluralism through the reform of repressive laws and policies that have affected the media during the previous regime.
“The improvement of government media relations represent an opportunity for the media to contribute directly to the security sector reform process. Yet, for this process to be successful, the media participation in security sector discourse should be meaningful, constructive and long term,” he said.
The aim of DCAF’s support to The Gambia media is to enable them to actively and meaningfully participate in the security sector reform process. This was done through capacity building trainings and development of a guide on SSR for media professionals, to foster the development of in-depth knowledge and understanding of the media security sector governance and democratic oversight.
Mr Lajos said if the media takes part in this process, the reform will become more transparent, participatory and democratic.
Story written by Amie Faye