By Juldeh Njie
Community radio journalists have said they are committed to reporting better and more professionally in the local government elections as they underwent a five-day training on election reporting.
Amadou O Bah, manager Bwiam radio, said community radios are faced with so many challenges reporting on elections and campaign but the training will help them to communicate to the masses with simple, clear and factual information.
“It will go a long way towards helping me to report better and I’m opportune to be trained on gender issues which are not reported well in the Gambia because most reports are gender bias,” Bah opined.
He said it is unfortunate that even journalists don’t know the roles and functions of the councilors. He appealed to the GPU to continuously train journalists on election reporting because most people don’t know the responsibilities of the councilors.
“These kinds of trainings are timely for journalists and people can only make informed choices or make the authorities accountable when they are well informed on the roles and responsibilities of the councilors”.
Maimuna Bandeh, manager Basse community radio said the lessons learnt will enable her to report more accurately and professional while ensuring that authorities are accountable to the people.
“My radio will implement some of the lessons learnt here and reach out to the people and inform them on the roles, responsibilities and functions of the councilors,” she said.
Abdoulie Njie, reporter at Kaira FM, said he is committed to reporting better and fearlessly, saying many of them believe that presidential election is the most important election.
He said: “I am well equipped when it comes to reporting on local government elections or any other election. I know what to report, when to report and how to report during elections. This is indeed the timeliest training I ever attended.”
Yama Gaye, Soma community radio, said she never had any idea in election reporting but now she is well equipped and ready to deliver better.
“This is the most important time for journalists; it is a time when electorate need us more than ever because the councilors are dealing directly with the people, and journalists are the only people who can create that platform. I even plan to initiate a program called ‘na bantabaa’ to education on the importance of the election,” she added.
Emil Touray, GPU president, who was among the lecturers, urged journalists to prepare well before going on air in order to avoid confrontations.
The journalists were speaking recently at Qcity where GPU in collaboration with UNDP trained over 60 community radio journalists around the country on election reporting.
The local government election would end the electoral cycle in the Gambia. The ward council election would start on 12 April and mayoral election on 12 May.