A day long public forum on 17 August 2017 was hold by the Gambia Press Union (GPU) and the Ministry of Communication and Infrastructure

Under the regime of former president Jammeh impunity was the order of the day. Journalists were killed, made to disappear, arrested, detained without trial or imprisoned for what they have written or said, forced into exile, tortured, harassed and because of this hostile atmosphere self-censorship became the order of the day. Media houses or houses of media practitioners were either set on fire or closed on no legal ground.


After the victory of the coalition at the December 1 2016 polls, but especially after the swearing in of President Barrow, there was a sigh of relief. The population felt liberated and presumed that they can freely express themselves. They did not wait for any declaration or enactment of law. They simply proceeded and expressed themselves and the media also did the same.

The Gambia Press Union, the epicentre of the media in The Gambia, wasted no time in playing its role and soon linked itself with the ministry of information that showed readiness to fully collaborate with the media fraternity. The GPU recognised that even though there was goodwill on the side of the government, and the media is free and people are freely expressing themselves there was still need to reform the laws to safeguard media freedom and free speech and create the enabling environment for the development of the media.

What is happening in the media now is indeed history. In the past the media was seen as enemies and media practitioners as cockroaches. But the new government in the face of the ministry of information now sees the media as a partner and is now partnering with it.

The comprehensive strategic framework for media reform the two sides have just launched is the backbone of a host of developments. It is the beginning of a new beginning.

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A day long public forum on 17 August 2017 was hold by the Gambia Press Union (GPU) and the Ministry of Communication and Infrastructure

Foroyaa Newspaper, 18.08.2017


The Gambia Press Union (GPU) and the Ministry of Communication and Infrastructure, on Thursday 17 August 2017, held a day long public forum at Ocean Bay Hotel to launch a strategic framework for media reform.

The Media Foundation for West Africa, the International Media Support and Gambia Media Support partnered with GPU and the ministry to develop the strategic framework. Representatives of these institutions formed part of a 12- member expert group of national and international Media Practitioners, academics and policy makers amongst others that developed the strategic framework.

According to the organizers, the objective of the forum is to present the strategic framework by the expert group to stakeholders from different media outlets and Institutions, a way of validating the media reform policy framework.
The strategic document focuses on three key thematic areas, namely, legal and policy reforms, capacity development and institutional strengthening.

The forum was also attended by representatives from UNESCO, ECOWAS, EU, UNDP, UN, and MLDI.

In his opening remarks, the Minister of Information Demba Ali Jawo, underscored the very vital role that the media has in promoting accountability and transparency and the key role it plays in strengthening democracy.

“The strategic media framework is a collaborative and participatory process that includes MOICI, GPU, the media Foundation for West Africa, Independent Media Support, and the Gambia Media Support (GAMES),” Minister Jawo underscored.

“The Framework is going to be one of the most significant inputs that would guide the media sector to reform in The Gambia,” he said. He expressed appreciation to all partners who have participated in the crusade. He stated that freedom of expression as enshrined in Article 19 of the Universal declaration of Human rights and Article 9 of the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, is the cornerstone of any democratic society.

“Fundamental rights, enablers of other rights and exercising these rights, should not have any bottle necks especially those systematically designed to limit freedom of expression by government institutions,” he underscored.

He also urged media practitioners to take public interest and disseminate factual information.

Other speakers at the program were Professor Kwame Kari Kari a MFWA board member, Mr. Suleiman Braimah, Executive Director, MFWA, Mr. Finn Rasmussen, Head of Department for Africa, IMS, Mr. Lars Moller, GAMES and support messages by UNESCO, ECOWAS, EU, UNDP, MLDI through video recording.

Mr. Bai Emil Touray, President GPU, gave a rundown of the strategic Framework for media reform and the closing remarks was given by Ms. Aisha Davies, Director at the department of Information Services.

The event was chaired by Ms. Kadjatou Jawara of the GPU.