On Saturday last, the convocation of the first ever batch of journalists from the School of Journalism and Digital Media saw sixteen Gambians graduate after a four year programme on journalism. They were among six hundred others who had undergone the four years of studies in various fields.
This is indeed a milestone given the importance of the media in a democracy, especially a fledging one like ours. Many a political thinker has categorised the media as the forth arm of government in addition to the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary.
For there to be a genuine and vibrant democracy, there must be an active and functioning media not only to inform and entertain the citizens, but also to hold government and public officials to account.
In order to do that and do it properly, there is a need to have very knowledgeable and dedicated journalists who will take it upon themselves not only to keep the citizenry well informed but also serve as the mouthpieces of the citizens to let government and public officials know what their electorates want.
The establishment of a school of journalism in the year 2014 was therefore a step in the right direction. This will enable the country have well trained and knowledgeable journalists who know the ins and outs of the country so that they will fill the gap that has always existed here in the area of governance.
Perhaps what the public would wish to see now is for the School of Journalism and Digital Media to put more emphasis on investigative journalism and more specialized fields of the trade. This will help strengthen the nascent democracy and put it on a firm footing. With this, the future generations will just build on what has already been achieved.
Well done to the University of the Gambia and all those who contributed towards this achievement!