"Promoting Access to Information in The Gambia"
MOICI, Article 19 set the ball rolling for an eventual ATI Bill
The Ministry of Information and Communications Infrastructure (MOICI) and Article 19 December 12 organized a high level stakeholders meeting on Promoting Access to Information in The Gambia.
The main objective of the Forum was to build synergies on discourse around the status of access to information in the country and inform the drafting of the Freedom of Information Bill in line with international standards and best practices.
Representing the Minister of Justice Abubacarr Tambadou and also speaking on behalf of the Minister of Information and Communications infrastructure, the Solicitor General Cherno Marenah stated that “after 22 years of a repressive regime, where the public was deliberately deprived of its right to know, it is an enormous task to change mind-sets. The political goodwill to put in place an Access To Information Law is evident, we intend to go beyond drafting the law. For ATI to become not just another text, discussions today should also focus on the capacity enhancement and understanding of state and non-state actors of their role in ensuring that ATI is a reality for all Gambians.”
Lamin Camara, the outgoing permanent secretary MOICI Participants who chaired the opening ceremony highlighted measures taken by the Government of The Gambia over the past year to ensure transparency and to improve on a two way communication with the Gambian public. The eventual drafting, submission and adoption of an ATI bill is in line with concretizing and ensuring that transparent governance becomes a norm in The Gambia.
“Government Committed to Enhancing and Protecting Free Expression”
Hon. Demba Ali Jawo, Minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure, today confirmed that The Government of The Gambia is committed to
themselves and the rights to access information.
Minister Jawo also stated that the Government sees the Gambian media as a partner in ensuring that processes to ensure meaningful change for Gambians from all walks of life are transparent.
The Information Minister was speaking at a side event to on the margins of 61st session and 30th Anniversary of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights organized by Article 19, in partnership with the Gambia Press Union and other human rights institutions in Africa to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Declaration of principles on freedom of expression in Africa.
The Honourable Minister also acknowledged the efforts of the keynote speaker, Mme Pansy Tlakula, Outgoing Chair of the ACHPR & Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information, African Commission for Human and Peoples’ Rights.
He spoke at length about reform initiatives the Government is embarking on to ensure that the rights to freedom of expression and access to information are respected.
See below for full statement of the Minister of Information and Communications Infrastructure.
Government Spokesperson Addresses the Media
The Honorable Minister of Information and Communications Infrastructure, Spokesperson of The Government of The Gambia, Demba A. Jawo this morning Tuesday, October 31 held his monthly press conference.
Speaking to journalists at the MOICI Conference Room, The Honourable Minister said the media briefings are in line with international best practices to give the public a general overview of Government activities.
The honorable Minister addressed some thematic developments currently on-going various Government ministries.
Below is the statement made by the Minister at the Press briefing...
MOICI Conference Room
Tuesday, October 31, 2017
Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to the October Press Briefing. I’d like to thank you all and the various media houses in The Gambia and abroad for the interest demonstrated in the activities of the Government of The Gambia.
Human Rights Protection Must Not Only Be About Enacting Laws On Paper’
The President of the Republic of The Gambia and Head of State, His Excellency Adama Barrow, Wednesday, October 1, graced the opening of the 61st session of the African Commission on Human People’s Rights (ACHPR) at the Kairaba Beach Hotel.
Aja Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajang, the vice president; Mariam Jack Denton, the speaker of the National Assembly, Hassan Jallow, the Chief Justice also graced the occasion.
The Honorable Minister of Information and Communications Infrastructure, Demba A Jawo was part of a strong Government delegation, comprising the Minister of Justice, Abubacarr Tambedou; the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Gambians Abroad, Ousainou Darboe; the Minister of Fisheries, Water Resources and National Assembly Matters, James Gomez; the Minister of Environment, security chiefs, members of the diplomatic corps and senior government officials.
Pansy Faith Tlakula, the outgoing chairperson of the ACHPR stated that they never met the former president, Yayha Jammeh who never attended the ACHPR events or received the rapporteurs. Adding that in the twelve years since she was elected rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and Access to Information, never had such a large Gambian delegation, representing the three arms of Government attend the Commission session.
The Minister of Information and Communications Infrastructure, Demba A Jawo has announced the appointment of a Special Advisor with effect from October 1st, 2017.
According to the MOICI, the main role objective for the creation of this position is to advise the Minister on formulation of a comprehensive National Communication Strategy and support MOICI in the process for legal reform of media laws and communications policies.
As per the mandates of the MOU signed between Article 19, MOICI and the Ministry of Justice, Article 19 is supporting MOICI to recruit a media and communication adviser to the Minister to facilitate and coordinate internally the reform process in line with the MOU and the objectives of the partnership.
The Special Advisor, Ndey Tapha Sosseh holds an MA in International Press Journalism (2004) from the University of Central England, Birmingham. Between 2009 to 2016, she headed a sub-regional journalists’ capacity building project in Bamako, Mali, under the aegis of the West African Journalists Association.
A former editor in chief of the Daily Observer (2004/5), the newly appointed special advisor is also former secretary general and president of the Gambia Press Union, former treasurer of the Federation of African Journalists.
As a journalist and human rights advocate, Ndey Tapha Sosseh served on the board of various Gambian rights groups, the Nobert Zongo Centre for Investigative Journalism (CENOZO), the Human Rights Advancement, Development and Advocacy Centre (HURIDAC) and the Pan-African Human Rights Defenders Network.