By Tabora Bojang
The Secretariat of the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparations Commission recently convened a daylong training exercise for over 25 media practitioners on reporting truth commission ahead of the commencement of the upcoming Commission.
The capacity building exercise supported by the United Nations Development Programme and other international partners, aims to equip media practitioners with requisite knowledge and broader understanding in accessing and providing news coverage to the proceedings of the Commission.
The Gambia’s truth commission becomes the 42nd in the world to probe the past human rights abuses and atrocities of the former dictatorial regime. The organisers say the development of a well-informed and active participatory media is indispensable to the viability of the process.
In his opening remarks Solicitor General Cherno Marena expressed ‘profound gratitude’ to the UNDP and other partners for the facilitation of the programme, noting that the media has a critical role to play in enhancing peace building, reconciliation and consolidation of democracy in the country.
”The exercise is fundamentally important considering the nature and scope of truth commissions; it is not reporting as usual, the impact that you can make in terms of statements and writings that you put out will have profound effects on the reconciliation process,” SG Marena said.
Executive Secretary of the TRRC Dr. Baba Galleh Jallow said the objective of the exercise is amongst others to equip media officials with essential knowledge on reporting truth commission to contribute to the national conversation and dialogue.
”We decide that its extremely important to strengthen our partnership with the media in this work of the TRRC precisely because reporting truth commissions is not like ordinary events. Transitional justice process is more complex than your every day happenings; there might be sensitive information and reports coming out,” Dr. Jallow said.
“Having training on reporting truth commissions for journalists would help raise their awareness to better handle issues they need to deal with since a lot of issues about Transitional Justice need to be handled with care,” he added.