“Advocacy Journalism Indispensable for Democracy” Says Halifa Sallah

By Rohey Jadama

The National Assembly Member for Serrekunda and People’s Democratic Organization for Independence and Socialism (PDOIS) Secretary General, Honorable Halifa Sallah, said advocacy journalism is indispensable for democracy.

“Our constitution is rooted in advocacy journalism that is why section 207 affirms that the media must uphold the fundamental objectives of the constitution and it goes further in both sections 207 and 208 to advocate for the media, to hold government accountable to the public and the state media to disseminate divergent views and dissenting opinions.’’

The Serrekunda NAM made these remarks while delivering the keynote address at the official opening ceremony of City Limit Radio’s training programme on the constitution held at Pipeline.

Hon. Sallah said:‘‘What is happening at the training is simply articulating in practice what is embodied in words in the constitution of the Gambia. Information is the foundation of human society. If any modern society is to build a civilization, information must be converted into knowledge and knowledge into culture.’’

“It is only an informed people who could be the architect of their own destiny and the subject we are to treat today is the content of the spirit of the Gambian constitution,” he said.

Mr. Baboucarr Cham, the General Manager of City Limits Radio, said as a media house, they operate with a clear vision of collaborating with all stakeholders towards the development of the ideals of nation building, and the protection of the national interest at all times. “We are expected to play an adversarial role, acting as watch dog and agenda setter. We are expected to expose violations of the moral and social order of society,” Mr. Cham said.

Mr. Momodou Njie, the Coordinator of the EU / UNESCO Media Capacity training, said journalist are the eyes and ears of the public and give voice to the voiceless. He underscored the importance of their role as journalist because the whole country relies on them for information. He further urged the trainees to implement what they have come to learn from the programme. He said his job is to supervise, monitor and report back to the sponsors about the effects of the training in their profession.

The Executive Secretary at the Alternative Dispute Resolution Secretariat (ADRS), Ms. Penda Gibril, stressed the importance of knowing the constitution, knowing their rights and freedoms, and how to apply them.

“Your rights and freedoms comes with responsibilities, and as journalists, you command a huge amount of audience. You have to be responsible when you put your information across to the public. Even though we have rights and responsibilities to know our constitution, it is fundamentally the right of the individual and your responsibility to know your country and what the constitution says”, said the ADRS Executive Secretary.