To this end, the Ministry of Information and Communication Infrastructure (MOICI), and GPU initiated a joint collaborative media sector reform process in partnership with MFWA, IMS and GAMES.
Delivering his keynote remarks, the Minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure, Hon. Demba Jawo, expressed his delight and gratitude to the GPU and its partners for organizing the forum, which he said was long overdue and also expressed that this framework will be very relevant in this new democratic dispensation in the country, following the change of Government.
He continued, “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 a democratic society, both as a fundamental right and as an enabler of all other rights. In exercising these rights, there should not be any bottlenecks especially those systematically designed to limit freedom of expression and access to information by governments and other institutions.”
Hon. Jawo urged Journalist and media practitioners to be vanguards of freedom of expression and safeguard public interest through dissemination of factual and reliable information.
He also assured the forum of his Ministry’s and the government commitment to support in the empowerment and promotion of human rights and press freedom in which he referred to the recent approval by cabinet, the Digital Broadcasting Policy (DBP) ushered in the liberalization of the television sub-sector.
Also on the delivering of welcoming remarks at this occasion, Mr. Ebrima Njie the Deputy Director at the Department of Information services (DOIS), expressed that for the past 22 years, The Gambia had experienced an onslaught on freedom of expression and human rights.
He further elaborated that the Gambia Press Union and partners continued their efforts to ensure that Gambians regain their lost freedom of expression and among others.
“The defeat of the former government in the December polls ushering in progress and democratic government was indeed a watershed in our history. It has afforded us the opportunity to rebuild our nation in line with democratic principles and good governance to facilitate socio economic recovery.”
Partners of the GPU, Mr. Sulemana Braimah, Executive Director of MFWA, Mr. Finn Rasmussen, Head of Department for Africa, IMS, and Mr. Lars Moller, of GAMES, all expressed their delight and gratitude on how far the media in the Gambia has come and the important role it plays in the development of the country. Moreover, they all pledged their continued support for the GPU and the Gambia as a whole.
Other speakers include representatives from UNESCO, ECOWAS, EU, and UNDP all expressed their delight on the recent developments of the media sector in the Gambia.