By Nelson Manneh
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on Saturday, 18th September 2021, trained journalists and civil society organizations (CSOs) on promoting participatory democracy in the Gambia as the country prepares itself for the December 4th Presidential election.
The training was meant to ensure journalists and CSOs are equipped with information about their role in promoting participatory democracy in the country.
Emmanuel E. Okorodudu, the head of Division Democracy and Good Governance Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Regional Security, said ECOWAS has come up with the program to promote media practitioners on their ethical values and content on election reporting to promote a peaceful election environment.
Mr. Okorodudu said CSOs should engage other local organizations at the grassroots level and educate them on the importance of peaceful election.
“Elections come and go, but the people stay. So, it is the people who should make sure that there is peace during and after elections,” he said.
Muhammed S. Bah, the vice president of the Gambia Press Union (GPU) commended ECOWAS and partners for preparing the minds of journalists ahead of the 2021 presidential election.
GPU vice president said the 2021 election will be the first democratic election to take place in The Gambia.
“Journalists are expected to feed the public with accurate and reliable information and in doing so, journalists should fact check and process information before spreading or broadcasting it,” he said.
He said elections’ reporting is different from other news articles as it can lead to violence if the reports are not accurate.