By: Kebba AF Touray
The African Parliamentary Press Network (APPN) in partnership with the National Assembly has recently conducted an introductory training for members of the Parliamentary Reporters Association-The Gambia (PRAG).
The training, among others, aimed to equip the PRAG members with the requisite skills and knowledge to better report on parliamentary issues and activities, in the drive to further cement media-parliament relations and bring parliament closer to the people.
Ndey Ceesay, Spokesperson of PRAG, said the training was timely as the Gambia National Assembly geared up for the upcoming committee sittings and the budget session, which are essential sessions, and require the requisite knowledge to report on the upcoming legislative activities.
She said, “The training will equip the members of PRAG with the requisite skills, knowledge, and expertise to accurately report on the issues of the National Assembly, with credibility, reliability, and authenticity”.
Gilbert Borketey Boyefio, Program Manager for the Gambia and Sierra Leone, expressed delight in APPN for the training, adding that it was the culmination of long-time discussions, which has enabled them to mobilize themselves and the association has been fully launched.
“We think that the first thing to do immediately after the official launching is to organize an introductory training. This will open our minds to the possibilities to what is expected of PRAG Members, and that there is going to be subsequent pieces of training that we are going to do with our partners,” he said.
Khalipha MM Mbaye, the Deputy Clerk of Legal and Procedural Matters of the Assembly said that the assembly takes pride in the establishment of PRAG, as it helps in bringing parliament closer to the people and keeping the populace abreast with the activities of the assembly.
“As part of the new parliamentary democracy, it is part of our new policy as the office of the clerk, that we open our doors and accessible to the public, as both institutions represent the people. Parliament and the media have a unique mandate to ensure democracy and good governance flourishes in the country”, he said.
He told PRAG members the willingness, interest, and readiness of the assembly in giving the necessary the PRAG members to ensure that the purpose for which the association was established is realized, and through the association, the assembly can easily reach the media through the association on any issue that they want to engage the media on.