By Binta Jaiteh
Gambian journalists have been urged to report on case including female genital mutilation child marriage and gender-based violence.
Nenneh Touray, deputy director under the directorate of gender equality and women empowerment, ministry of gender children and social welfare, made the calls during a two-day training held at Pakaliba recently.
“If you want people to do their work accurately you need to train them with adequate knowledge and due to that we deem it necessary to build the capacity of journalist to report on gender-based violence especially FMC and child marriage which could at times, be complex in the way we sometimes report can hinder the amount of advocacy, amount of work being done to make sure that FGM/C and child marriage are totally forbidden in this country,” she said.
“The importance of this training cannot be overemphasized as a media personnel your role is not only to disseminate but also the information should be authentic and serve as advocates especially FGMCChild marriage which has a lot of consequences on the individual and community at large,” she added.
According to her, the training cannot be enough because we have new people coming into the profession. That is why we constantly build the capacity of the network members because when we start the initial training, we build the capacity of 25 journalists.
The whole training started when we had a child protection program of FGMC and child marriage that is the one we had UNICEF, in 2019 we decided to organize a training with journalist especially the network members from there we had constant program with the network.
“UNICEF has been constantly supporting the program of the network and we feel that we should not relent as to when someone is helping you also improve yourself. Under the UNICEF we had capacity building program and follow it with media outreach activities, panel discussions life phoning on radio and TV’s because we feel that capacity building programs are never enough, we will constancy train our members to ensure that they are full equipped with the facts that will be sent to the public for public consumption. Like I always emphasized, if you give information that is not authentic at the end of the day the readers will not have the confidence that journalists are people that the public trust anything sending out should be authentic and factual,” she said.
She said, that is why we deem it necessary to give the adequate information the legal instruments of FGM/C, health consequences child marriage and child protection issues, gender and gender based violence including media ethics because whatever you doing it should be based on the ethics of the profession and it doesn’t stop with the media adding that security personnel and the immigration also were trained to help them handle cases of GBV. We will continue to work with different segments of the public including the MDFT’s, Tags and the community leaders teaching them models that are being use to ensure that community members are in the forefront to fight against GBV, Child marriage and FGM/C.
The ministry emphasized on being ethical because the moment you sent an information out and people felt that this particular journalist information is not authentic your integrity will be at stake and that of your newspapers, however I would like to remind the journalist about issues of children are very sensitive and that is why when they are reporting on children his/her identity, place and school should be totally hidden if not it might hunt the that child in the future and no one knows what the child’s position will be meanwhile unless and until the investigation is out, sending out reports when investigation are on might hinder the investigation process.
Pateh Baldeh, president network of gender journalist women and cultural advancement Gambia said the capacity building has been ongoing and this is not the first time the members have been benefiting from such training with the ministry of gender.
‘’Am happy that this training took place in Pakalinding at the time the network was formed under the same ministry. Therefore it has shown that we have been benefiting and collaborating with the ministry for the benefit of the members. I urge the network members to take ownership of the network.