Sunday, March 26

ATI Act provides enforceable right for journalists – GPU Prexy

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The President was speaking during an opening of a two-day capacity building training for journalists on the use of ATI law for news reporting and ensuring transparency in governance, held at Metzy Resort.

Mr Bah said further that under the Act, journalists have a right to request, process, and disseminate public information held by public bodies to the general public.

“The Act also provides guidelines for an appeal to the Information Commission for violation of the right to access information by public bodies. This will enhance democracy, ensure citizens’ participation and build greater trust in Government decision-making. Therefore, journalists have a very crucial role to play in the application and implementation of the ATI law.”

He said the idea of the training is for the participants to understand the law and be able to use it as an important tool for everyday news reporting and also for open-source investigative journalism. 

In the past few years, he noted, the GPU has trained journalists on reporting on public finance and budget, investigative journalism, and fact-checking, resulting in a noticeable interest in journalism practices that promote transparency and accountability among journalists and the Gambian media.

He said: “With reports that have helped expose corruption and raised awareness on the ills of poor governance in The Gambia, and tackling misinformation, usually resulting in some form of actions that are meant to address them.”

Bah also said the legislative framework grants the citizens, Journalists- and everyone else the legal right of access to information that the government and private entities keep on behalf of the public.

He reiterated that this follows an unprecedented five-year CSO-led right-to-know campaign, which has in great ways, increased public interest on access to information in The Gambia. 

“The commitment from the government to recognise this right has been welcomed by various stakeholders, including organisations represented in this room, having been involved in the campaign for the enactment of the ATI law,” the GPU president stated, saying:  “However, having an access to information legislation is not the be all and end all of our quest as nation to ensuring people have a right of access to public information or ensuring transparency and accountability in government and governance processes.”