The Chairman of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), Alieu Momar Njie, has tasked journalists to observe high professional standards in election reporting. He urged them to desist from all forms of defamatory, derivative and malicious conducts during the process, saying such behaviour has the potential to cause conflict and violence.
He was speaking on Monday during the opening of a three-day training workshop for media personnel and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) as part of activities of preparation for the December 1 presidential election in The Gambia.
“It is important to note that the freedom, responsibility and limitations of the media are guaranteed in the 1997 Constitution of The Gambia, under Sections 207, 208 and 209 respectively. The IEC media rules on election reporting also provide some practical guidelines to journalists in helping them fulfill professional standards, which generally include accuracy, impartiality and responsibility,” Chairman Njie stated.
“Journalists are expected to report fairly on all candidates or parties whilst upholding professional standards and media ethics; this is to say that media practitioners are to observe the law, media ethics and election rules and regulations. These will help equip journalists and CSOs alike in discharging their roles of informing and educating voters on the election process.”
The Chairman further acknowledged that the Commission has enjoyed tremendous support and cooperation from the media both public and private and CSOs, noting that the IEC would like to strengthen such efforts in delivering yet another successful election to the Gambian electorate.
“The Commission yet again counts on you the journalists for your full participation in making the Presidential Election a success,” he stressed.
Njie further recognised the important role played by other partners as well, which he said include the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE), youth organisations.
by Alhagie Babou Jallow
& Binta Jammeh