By Omar Bah
The Minister of Justice Ba Tambadou has warned journalists and through them the Gambian population that the soon-to-start truth, reconciliation and reparations commission will reveal harrowing testimonies and as such that type of information should be accurately and responsibly reported.
In a speech delivered on his behalf at a training of journalists on reporting of the TRRC process, Tambadou said the 22 years of dictatorship in this country has left “us with a legacy of rights violations and abuses characterised by brutal crimes in forms of torture, unlawful killings, secret burials, illegal detention, rape and other forms of gender base violence.”
“There will undoubtedly be harrowing testimonies during the hearings of the TRRC and revelations may in some cases have the potentials to cause irreparable harm to a person’s family and friends. Therefore we should be mindful of verification of information and ensure that certain sensitive information are obtained from competent sources,” he urged journalists. The minister further warned that with new technologies and wider outreach, the media is now a target for misinformation, manipulation and in some cases suppression by interest groups as well as opposing sides trying to control the narrative.
”It is therefore important that journalists and editors exhibit professionalism at all times,” Tambadou said.
The International IDEA senior program officer, Maurice Enqueleguele said the Gambia is at a cross-cutting point with the setting up of the TRRC and that the media is expected to play a critical role in the process.
The British High Commissioner to the Gambia, Sharon Wardle, said the critical political transition Gambia is going through calls for, “more than ever before, a sensitive, responsible reporting.
“Your population will be relying on you for sensible and honest accounts of what is going on. So please do think of your audiences and let’s make this a truly open and transparent TRRC process for all Gambians.”
The training is organized by the Africa and West Asia Programme office of International IDEA, in partnership with the Department of Political Affairs of African Union Commission, and the Ministry of Justice.