By Omar Bah
The Standard Newspaper has over the weekend started a month-long training programme featuring four works to begin the EU Gambia media capacity building project implemented by Unesco. The first of the four courses is a five- day intensive training on layout and design to be followed by three other sessions for journalists and editors.
According to the Managing Editor of The Standard Lamin Cham, the month-long training at the offices of the Standard is very much welcome, especially at a time when the media has got a new found freedom in the new Gambia.
Mr Cham said as the name indicates, the Standard aims at setting the standards in newspaper journalism in The Gambia and such training will be of great help. He thanked the EU and Unesco for their excellent partnership in the realisation of the project.
Mr Jereme Leszek Bialy, from Unesco Dakar office , representing project coordinator Papa Njie, said the concept of the project started in 2015 and they were ready to implement it, but there was a lot of resistance from the then government.
“We understood from the beginning that there was no democracy without freedom of speech and press freedom and for us it was our interest to start this project. When the political situation changed in the country we believed we couldn’t find ourselves a better time than this to start the project,” he said.
He said expectation is very high at the EU and UNESCO that the project will bring immense progress in the country’s media.
He said given the fact that the whole world rely on the media for information, quality and reliable information is crucial.
The Alkalo of Bakau, Lutang Jaiteh gave a long history of relations between his community and media houses in the Gambia from the Daily Observer to others. He said the role of journalism is important in democracy and thanked The Standard for continuing to have good relation with people of Bakau.
Meanwhile, the proprietor of Standard Newspaper, Sheriff Bojang on behalf of the staff extended his profound gratitude to the European Union, UNESCO and the US Embassy for their instrumental contribution towards the media over the years.
He said freedom of expression does not mean saying or doing everything, “This is why such training is very crucial towards helping the country’s media to build a strong professionalism in their daily engagements,” he said.
Mr. Bojang said there is the need for building standards especially when it comes to the media who are key players in national development.