The Gambia Press Union on November 6, 2021 held its annual National Forum on the Safety of Journalists at the Paradise Suites Hotel in Kololi.
The forum brings together journalists to discuss their safety concerns and the improvements made in the area of safety.
Since 2019, the GPU made significant efforts to improve the safety of journalists in preparation of the December 4, 2021 presidential elections and beyond.
The Union, with the help of an international safety trainer, has trained 12 safety trainers who have been conducting stepdown safety trainings since 2020 for journalists covering protests and political events.
This year’s forum brought together 80 journalists, two of the safety trainers, Isatou Keita and Therese Gomez, a journalism lecturer and a police officer.
Chief Superintendent Lamin Jaiteh, who represented the Gambia Police Force at Saturday’s forum, said he was happy with the engagements the GPU has had with the security forces as they continue to enlighten them about the role of the media in the country.
He said the police should be accountable for their wrong doings and that journalists should also hold themselves accountable, understand and practice responsible journalism.
He also said the police and journalists are partners in development and we both work for the people. “Partnership building is anchored on building trust, without it, the relationship between the police and the media will not work,” Jaiteh said. “We shouldn’t assume to know each other’s role without knowing each other’s mandate.”
Isatou Keita, a GPU-trained Safety Trainer, encouraged journalists to practice all the safety procedures they have been taught and follow the safety messages the GPU has developed which are shared on GPU social media platforms to stay safe.
Fatoumatta Saidykahn, a journalist at The Monitor newspaper, said the relationship between the security and the media has improved this year. She said the GPU should to do more trainings on safety for journalists.