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Monday, October 2, 2023

State House backtracks on screening of journalists

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Press release

A delegation of the Gambia Press Union (GPU), led by the President Sheriff Bojang Jr, Monday morning held a meeting with the Director of Press and Public Relations at the State House on the new press accreditation policy.
The meeting was convened following the Union’s disagreement with the new policy which requires journalists to undergo security screening by the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) for accreditation to cover the presidency. The measure was to come into effect on Monday, 1st April.

However, at the meeting this morning, DPPR Amie Bojang-Sissosho said following a discussion with the GPU President and Secretary General and consultation with her State House colleagues, her office came to the conclusion that the screening of journalists by NIA would not go ahead.
She however said the NIA screening requirement has been misconstrued as a restriction and an intimidation of the press.

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“The policy was developed with goodwill and its only objective was to get to know the people covering the presidency because it is a sensitive office,” she said.
Reacting to the latest development, Sheriff Bojang Jr. said “it’s in the interest of both parties that the plan to screen journalists in this manner is abandoned,” adding that “subjecting us to appear before a panel of NIA agents would have been a very bad idea.”
Mr Bojang said the GPU is cognizant of the strives by the Office of the DPPR in recent years in facilitating the work of the press on matters of coverage of events involving the presidency.

He also acknowledged the ongoing efforts by the government in working closely with the media towards improving the relationship between the government and the media.
Meanwhile, the GPU has called on journalists who applied for State House accreditation to go to the State House Communications Unit to duly complete their accreditation processes and collect their cards.

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