Information is power. With information there is a lot that one can achieve. Journalists are important in society because they bring the news and therefore keep the public out of the dark.
Journalists derive the information they divulge from reliable sources and that is why they often get to the ground to witness developments and interview those directly involved in an incident in order to have a complete and true picture of the situation. This is the information that is relayed to the public for consumption.
A journalist is not a maker of the news but simply reports the news. He or she is not permitted to make a bad situation look good or for a good situation to look bad, but to ensure that the report reflects the reality. That’s all.
Security personnel who see journalists as enemies and readily pounce on them when the opportunity arises are unenlightened and not different from a criminal or a daft who is eager to strike at his or her prey. Securing lives and property is an honourable job that deserves admiration. Likewise informing the public to empower them is also an honourable job that deserves admiration. Both can be risky at times.
Every enlightened security personnel should understand that while performing their work of protecting lives and property they should make room for journalists to cover the event and give the public timely and accurate information.
The Gambia Press Union and the Police need to have a tete-a-tete to work out rules of engagement to avoid future battering of journalists or their treatment as criminals. Journalists are not punching bags and deserve to be treated with respect in the new dispensation.