By Isatou Jawara
Newly elected President of Gambia Press Union Sheriff Bojang Jr has promised to work to improve on journalists wages by engaging media chiefs and other stakeholders in dialogue.
A notable number of journalists continues to wallow in low wages and work in poor conditions.
Following his election as president last week, however, Sheriff Jr said he has a competent staff to look into these issues and run the affairs of the union.
“Most journalists don’t get what they deserve, yet work in difficult conditions. Some are employed without employment letters. I pledge to look into these priority issues.”
The new president also said he will work to develop journalists’ capability: “Capacity building will be my major initiative,” he said. “We will revisit the method of engaging media chiefs to make sure journalists’ welfare is improved.”
Jr said our “fallen heroes” who died in the crusade for a free press, will always be remembered by tasking government to compensate their families.
Outgoing President Emil Touray, said the union has received “incredible amount of support” from the current government and civil society.
Mr Touray said so much has been achieved in the fight for “democratic values,” yet so much remains to be achieved.
“The Gambia is visibly enjoying an improved climate of freedom of expression,” he said. “Citizens are becoming increasingly aware of their rights and dutiful in holding duty bearers to account. The media, both as an institution and a tool for good governance is playing an important role in keeping the public informed and empowered. The GPU has been and shall remain the touchstone for that performance.”