By Nelson Manneh / Kebba Mumburay
Fifty Journalists from different Media Houses in the country on Saturday September 22nd 2018, completed training on Court Reporting and Investigative Journalism. The training was funded by the Open Society Initiative for West Africa (OSIWA) and implemented by the Gambia Press Union’s School of Journalism and the University of the Gambia.
Twenty-five of the participants went through a two months training on Investigate Journalism whilst the other twenty-five went through a one month training on Court reporting.
In his remarks Saikou Jammeh the Master of the graduation ceremony, said the module used during the training was prepared by the UTG and GPU School of journalism; that after the change of Government, the GPU made a comprehensive study of the media sector and developed a framework part of which was capacity building of journalists.
“The two areas that needed urgent attention was Court reporting and investigative journalism, to the extent that we do not want people to come from the Courts and start talking about exhibits without telling people what exhibits are all about,” he said; that investigative journalism is needed because there was once a time when one person was running all the affairs of the country.
“We have a new Government were democracy and the rule of Law should be respected. For this to happen, there is need for us to strengthen our institutions,” he said.
Sang Mendy, the Managing Director of the GPU School of Journalism, said Court reporting and investigative journalism are the cores of the profession; that one cannot afford to make mistakes when reporting from the Courts or investigating stories.
“In these two areas of reporting, if you make a mistake you may end up were no one wants to be, or come out public and apologies,” he said.
Mendy called on journalist to specialize in the various areas in order to deliver to expectation; that sometimes journalists are blamed and that one cannot be expected to deliver in areas where he or she is not equipped to handle; that this is why the training comes at the time, when it is needed to understand the processes and the skills needed in the profession.
Sheriff Bojang Junior, the new President of the country’s Press Union, said GPU has conducted several trainings to equip members understand the profession; that there are risks and complexities in these two areas of reporting, and that one needs to work hard to be able to do away with the risks involved.
“Among the things we need in the media, is investigative journalism. Because every day when we read other news, we tend to hear about allegations of corruption. This needs to be investigated before it is consumed by the public,” he said.
The new GPU president said most people keep on criticism the Gambian journalists because ‘‘we have a problem with capacity building and knowhow.’’
He urged the graduates to deliver the knowledge imparted in them; that what is expected of them is to write good stories and report on facts with evidence.