The President of The Gambia Press Union, Sheriff Bojang Junior said his leadership will not sit back and fold hands or be complacent despite the good will from the government towards media freedom.
Bojang led his executive to meet the Minister of Information, Ebrima Sillah on Monday, October 22. The meeting touched on several issues including difficulties in accessing information on time.
After the closed door meeting, the minister appreciated the courtesy call and renewed government’s commitment towards media freedom.
“The new management (GPU leadership) thought it wise to meet me and discuss the issues that are relevant to them including the media law reform processes that have been going on and other specific issues in the profession.
“It was a very fruitful discussion and I made it clear about the government’s continued interest in the progress that has already been made. I assured them our commitment to cardinal principle for the freedom of the media and freedom of the journalists to access information especially public information,” he said.
Sillah said creating access to public information will give a true reflection of professional efforts by the media as per its role to inform and enlighten the public about the issues that are going on in the country.
“We want to ensure that we have good working relationship with the media. As a government it is in our interest to see that the media works independently and freely in this country,” he said.
He assured continuous collaboration between the government and the union to advance the agenda of professional media work and also to enhance the professionalism of the media in the country.
The GPU’s president, Sheriff Bojang Jnr. said the courtesy call was to introduce the new executive to the Minister for the ministry is the gateway to the government.
He said the work with the government as a union is crucial. He acknowledged the good will from the government towards the welfare of the media and towards the media freedom in general.
“We have seen that, we hailed that, we recognized that and we salute the government for that,” he said.
However, he said there are a lot of other things that need improvements on which they will be taking up with the government.
“Among them is access to information. We have seen that compared to before, there is a lot of access to information but when it comes to information coming out quickly and at the right time there is still a challenge,” he said.
Bojang is hopeful that such challenges will be sorted out. He urged the government to make sure journalists don’t only have access to information but have access to speedy and accurate information from the government.
“We are leaving this meeting emboldened, hopeful and optimistic that the way forward and the future of relationship between Gambia government and Gambian media will be healthy and will move from strength to strength.
“We won’t be complacent and we won’t sit down and fold our hands because there is good will. We will watch out. We will continue to ask tough questions. We will continue to hold the government to account and then hoping that there won’t be a moment in which descent will be crushed like before,” Bojang said.
He said GPU will collaborate with the government in advancing the country for the betterment of people of The Gambia.