By Alagie Manneh
The minister of information, Ebrima Sillah, has exhorted journalists to shun partisanship by reporting factual, fair and credible news.
He said this is crucial for any nascent democracy while adding that like government, the work of journalists is also “under the microscope by the public”.
“We call on the journalists particularly those that are selected to report on elections in The Gambia to be fair, to be critical but also to be mindful that above all, their work is under the microscope not only by the electoral body but the citizenry,” Sillah, himself a former journalist remarked.
He was addressing a coordination meeting of CSOs, the media, government and private sector groups Saturday at the Baobab Hotel in Bijilo.
The event was aimed at broadening participants’ knowledge of the AU guidelines on access to information and elections with a view to improve transparency and accountability in election processes in Africa.
“Your integrity [as journalists] is critical and important. Your credibility is critical and important and therefore what you give to the public should be seen not only to be credible but to be fair and balanced as well,” minister Sillah added.
He said the recent past weeks has been upsetting for the media fraternity as a whole amid accusations of false news reports.
“It has seen some very disturbing trend in the country where some people will just manufacture their own stories, print them in our newspapers and insist that they are credible when the actual fact is that they are manufactured stories. That has a lot to do with credibility. I believe that this is one profession in The Gambia since the first republic to now that has always been relied on to salvage but also to stand by people when it comes to truth. Therefore, we should all endeavour to see that we report fairly, truthfully and in good faith so that the people of The Gambia can make informed choices. Difficult as it is, we should try by all means to move from partisan choices, from individual attacks and any other consideration that is not guided by our cardinal principles in journalism,” the minister said.
He said the government stands committed and ready to work hand in glove with the media fraternity in the country.