By Makutu Manneh
The Media Council of The Gambia said on Thursday it has received two complaints f rom aggrieved individuals and both of them are at their advanced stage in the adjudicatory process.
Former Magistrate and now Executive Secretary of the Council, Junkung Jobarteh said: “The Ethics Panel is now constituted by three eminent personalities who are persons of great expertise and experience. As their work was cut out for them, they had begun receiving and hearing complaints.”
“So far, the Council received two complaints and both of them are at their advance in the adjudicatory process. The beauty of the self-regulatory process is that parties do not bear any material and financial cost in filling and or hearing their complaints.”
Jobarteh, who was briefing the media on the benefits of Self-regulation over State- regulation, said the former will engender the promotion of an independent and free media and as well as upholding the highest ethical standards by the media and its practitioners.
He added this could be made possible for the media only if the media practitioners and entities submit themselves to it and comply with its decisions and recommendations.
“The GPU Code of Conduct is the working tool for the council and the ethics panel in resolving complaints,” he said.
But he said that does not stop the ethics panel from coming up with their own rules which they are about to develop.
Nana Grey Johnson chairperson of the council said they continued to reach ran marks in the long process of self-regulation and having people in the media industry look at themselves and make themselves responsible both professionally and legally.
Mr Johnson said: “It has taken many years to convince the public and government that self-regulation is the choice, that self-regulation dignifies the profession and the industry.”
He thanked the Gambia press union for backing the panel and for helping them to see that they can do it themselves without the issues of litigation in courts and arrest of people who try to enhance the democratic space by reporting on government and holding government accountable and contributing ideas that make democracy stronger.
Mr. Johnson said this is their (media practitioners) opportunity for self-respect and now they are taking the bull by the horn to show the nation that they have a voice and they will contribute to the enlargement of the democratic space.
He continued to say that at the level of the board, they are here to make sure that whatever problem arises in the media, the answers to those will be self-regulation and that it will be done in-house and not in-house looking for biases, but by making sure they professionally handle issues at their level.
Amie Joof Cole Chairperson of the Ethics Panel said people who are committed to media freedom and freedom of expression should ensure that journalists are never violated in the Gambia.
She appealed to all media practitioners to be responsible in the execution of their duties and to stick to the provisions of the code of conduct and to know that since they are the members of the GPU, they have to be accountable.