A three-day intensive election reporting training for senior journalists drawn from the print and electronic media is currently underway at a local hotel in Bijilo, ahead of the December 1, presidential election.
Organised by The Gambia Press Union with support from the UNDP, the training seeks to enlighten the media personnel on how to cover and report on pre and post elections.
In his opening remarks, Pape Saine, co-founder of the Point Newspaper and veteran journalist said the training will help journalists, especially the young ones, in their covering and reporting of the electioneering process up to the voting day and after the results are announced.
Mr. Saine, who has reported on many elections in both the First and Second Republics, advised the journalists to avoid reporting hate speech and any remarks that will create problem for the society, noting that that would tarnish the image of the Gambian media and its practitioners.
“You should be factual and accurate in your reporting. Your report should also be balanced and void of sentiments. Unbalanced reports always attract criticism and put the press and journalists into disrepute. Therefore, always make sure you get all the relevant information in an incident or matter before reporting it for the consumption of the general public,” Mr. Saine further told the participants.
He went on to remind journalists to always remain professional and stand ready to get the accurate facts about an issue so that the report will be credible and sacrosanct.
Namory Trawally, the first vice president of the GPU said the Union deemed it necessary to organise the training to better equip the participants who will be actively involved in election coverage. According to him, the body intends to organise few other trainings for the members of the media before the election.
During the three days, participants will be lectured on the role of the media in elections, conflict sensitive reporting, importance of voter’s voice reporting in election, media guidelines on election reporting in The Gambia, ethical and legal consideration in election reporting, and how to cover and report on the different phases of election.
by Alieu Ceesay