The Gambia Press Union (GPU) on April 1 2017, launched a two-year United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) sponsored project titled ‘Enhancing GovernmentMedia Relations to Improve the Legal Environment for Freedom of Expression in The Gambia.’
During the commemoration of the World Press Freedom Day last year – 2016, the GPU launched the ‘Decade of Campaign for the Protection and Promotion of Freedom of Expression in the Gambia’. The GPU indicates that it has since started work to realise the objectives of this declaration.
On March 21, 2017, UNDEF approved a grant of US$220,000 to the GPU, after negotiations that lasted more than one year.
Through this project, the GPU intends to work with national and international partners to complement the efforts of the Government of President Adama Barrow, aimed at promoting an enabling environment for freedom of speech and responsible and investigative journalism in The Gambia.
In this regard, the GPU and its partners will engage in consultations with a wide range of stakeholders, including media, lawyers, students, youth, security forces, National Assembly, judiciary, government agencies and civil society. This will lead to the establishment of the National Freedom of Expression Committee that will work towards a comprehensive review of existing freedom of expressions and advocate for the introduction of laws that are conducive to freedom of speech. The union will also come up with annual state of freedom of expression report.
Furthermore, the GPU will set up an independent media self-regulatory mechanism to monitor compliance and enforce the code of conduct while serving as a platform for the public to lodge complaints against media infringements on the rights and freedom of the members of the public.