One year after Jammeh: Media4Democracy reports on freedom of expression

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By Alagie Manneh

Media4Democracy, in cooperation with the EU delegation to The Gambia, Wednesday gave a report on freedom of expression and media pluralism in The Gambia, one year after the end of ‘dictatorial’ rule.
The report which focuses on ‘Analysis in the Context of Democratisation and Transitional Justice,’ is the result of an in-field assessment carried out during October—November 2017 to map out the information ecosystem that influences free expression, open information and media pluralism “in a country progressing through media reforms.”

The 29 pages document was presented by Ian Noble, a media analysis consultant, said to have over 35-years of experience in international broadcasting and managing media development programmes.
It deliberates on many issues and recommended continuing support for the legislative reforms “which will decriminalise media infractions and gruanrantee freedom of expression and access to information and transform The Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS) into a public service broadcaster rather than an organ of government.”

The report also highlights the need for journalism training in both public and private media, and support for the work of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission (TRRC.
Mr Noble’s report and recommendations are now expected to build on the Strategic Framework for Media Reforms in The Gambia produced by the ministry of Information and the Gambia Press Union.
Reacting to the report, Information Minister Demba Jawo thanked the Media4Democracy consultant for “capturing and reflecting the realities” on the ground.

He told the gathering it came at a time when his Ministry in particular, and the Ministry of Justice show desire for media freedom and liberty of Gambian people by partaking in various “government, media and civil society-led initiatives into holistic media reform.”

The EU Ambassador to The Gambia Attila Lajos, said the report will help stakeholder’s gain better understanding of what the “crucial areas are that need support in the intermediary term and how to move forward, and renewed EUs “full support” to The Gambia’s democratic transition, “including the necessary media reforms and strengthening freedom of expression.”