The Gambia Press Union (GPU), has announced a $154,000 project grant from the United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF).
The two-year project will focus on strengthening public access to information and media professionalism in The Gambia. It will also seek to strengthen public awareness and understanding of the Access to Information (ATI).
The UDF-21-912-GAM project is designed to maximise the benefits of ATI law by promoting information requests from journalists and members of the public, information provision from the government, and the potential benefits derived from the application of the law.
It will also raise awareness about the role of the Media Council of The Gambia (MCG) and promote journalists’ compliance with the Cherno Jallow Charter of Ethics for Journalists.
“It is our goal that this project would address barriers to access to information in The Gambia, and improve knowledge and the use of the ATI legislation by journalists and members of the public,” GPU Secretary General, Modou S Joof said.
Joof said the project will ensure journalists and members of the public are better equipped to exercise their rights under the law.
Also, commenting on the project, GPU president Muhammed Bah said: “This project comes at a crucial time to support the operationalisation of the ATI law, and it is important to empower decision-makers in government including permanent secretaries, managers of government agencies, information and record officers on their roles and responsibilities of proactively and reactively disclosing information.”
The project will be implemented nationally by the GPU in collaboration with various stakeholders including the Civil Society Coalition on Access to Information, the Gambia government through the ministry of information, and the MCG.
Chairperson of the CSO Coalition on ATI, John Charles Njie, said: “The numerous training and sensitisation on the ATI law to be conducted under this project across the country will no doubt enhance public interest in access to information and the enjoyment of the right to information.”
Beneficiaries of the project include a range of diverse groups including journalists, government officials, women, youths, and people living with disabilities.