By Nelson Manneh
The Young Journalist Association of the Gambia (YJAG), in partnership with the Gambia Press Union (GPU), has commenced a two-day training for twenty reporters and editors on Monday, June 5th on crime and court reporting. The training, according to the organisers, will equip journalists on how to obtain information from the Courts for public consumption and how to report on crime(s).
Muhammed S. Bah, President of the Gambia Press Union (GPU), said the training is meant to improve the potential of young journalists and reporters on court and crime reporting.
“Journalists should be able to interpret legal terminologies and present them to the public in a way that will not change the actual meaning of the information,” he said. The GPU president added that interpretation of Court information into national languages sometimes changes the whole meaning of the proceedings of a Court. He urges electronic reporters to be careful about how to translate court proceedings to the national languages.
Yankuba Jallow, President of the Young Journalist Association, said court proceedings are mostly public and journalists are given the privilege to cover proceedings in order to inform the public.
“This training will help you, as a journalist, to give accurate information from the Courts. As a journalist, it is your responsibility to give accurate but reliable information to the public,” he said. He implores participants to take the training seriously in order to be able to report accurately from the Courts. He said reporters should understand that every accused person is presumed innocent until proven guilty, beyond reasonable doubt.
Babucarr Cham, Chairperson of the Gambia Media Council, said journalists should be aware of the fundamental rights for fair trials and the principle of natural justice. He said journalism is based on ethics, and as journalists, they should apply the ethics of the profession at all times.
“Reporters are expected to report accurate information to the public and that is what keeps you as a journalist. If you publish information that is not credible, it can make you lose followers,” he said.