Journalists challenged to up ante on child rights protection

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By Mariam Sankanu

Gambian journalists have been called upon to up their game in the promotion and protection of children’s rights.
The appeal came from youth coordinator and focal person of the Child Protection Alliance, Lamin Saidy, who said children’s rights are “constantly getting abused, and not given enough attention” it deserves.
He was speaking at a three-day training for media practitioners on child rights and protection, organised at the Naqaa conference hall in Kanifing.
He said his organisation, the CPA, works to ensure these rights are protected on a daily bases, however, more efforts are needed.
“…the media, is needed to reach out to a large number of people in The Gambia in order to protect the rights of children,” Mr Saidy stated.

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“We are doing all we are supposed to do, but the media is another entity. The means that you have, we don’t have that. We write on our facebook timelines, probably even on our websites, but how many followers do we have?”
Saidy criticised the sleazy ‘culture of silence’ that he said has gotten the better of Gambians and makes their work as child protectors difficult.
He said the media was expected to break that silence.
Emphasising his point, Saidy said the many violations on various children reported in The Gambia are yet to see justice.

He said of a French national recently accused of molest in The Gambia.
“…This man is going on his normal business as if nothing has happened. Nobody is talking about it. Since the police issued a statement saying the matter is before the AG chambers, nobody talks about it,” he regretted.
He urged the journalists to build interest in finding answers to these questions.
He further told the newsmen what first things should be considered in writing stories related to children.
“That is the best interest of the child. But as media personnel, when we are writing, do we consider the best interest of children?” he asked rhetorically.

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