By Bekai Njie
Gambian journalists Monday reviewed and validated the Code of Conduct for media practitioners designed to guide them in their daily work.
Championed by The Gambia Press Union (GPU), the Code of Conduct spells out the roles and responsibilities of media institutions and workers while guaranteeing the protection of the rights of consumers and subjects of media content.
As part of its mandate to promote freedom of expression and professionalism in the media, the GPU in 1998 adopted the Code of Conduct for media practitioners that is revised every two years. The union was later inspired by attempts to establish a National Media Commission by the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure, leading to a six-member committee of media experts who reviewed the code.
Nana Grey Johnson, the dean of the School of Journalism and Digital Media of The University of The Gambia, and chairperson of the media council reminded journalists that they should not compromise the profession to maintain ethical balance. He said they must always strive to establish the truthfulness of an issue before publishing it.
He said the media council was created to ensure compliance and to create a buffer between the practitioner and the law. It was also created to regulate and uplift the democratic profile of the state. The code provides for journalists to specialise in their areas of interest that would help in promoting good journalism, he addedSaikou Jammeh, GPU secretary general said the code of conduct came into being in 2016 through a consultative process by media experts from diverse backgrounds.
I Mr. Jammeh reminded journalists that the union embarked on a caravan to visit every media house in The Gambia in 2017 in order to make sure that every journalist has access to a copy of the code. “Disappointingly, some journalists wouldn’t read the code, even if it is given to them. However, journalists should familiarise themselves with the code for ethical reasons,” he said.
Haruna Drammeh, on behalf of the review committee, said they had a two-day retreat where they discussed their mode of operation as media practitioners in The Gambia.
He highlighted some provisions that were brought on board such as online media, court and election reporting and reporting on migration, and the general provisions were reviewed, too. He emphasised the importance of the document, noting that it is a code that the media would benefit from.