The Media and COVID-19 in West Africa: The Case of Gambia

The outbreak of the COVID-19 disease has brought into sharp focus the imperative of the media in society generally; but especially its role in providing the news, information and education that the public need during a pandemic. At the same time, the outbreak has seriously disrupted, and significantly destabilised media systems and news routines in the countries of West Africa; as is also the case globally.

Some of the effects on the media are self-evident, others are insidious; some are short-term, some far-reaching. But, like the virus itself, all require some examination to establish the evidence empirically; all require collaboration to ensure that response and recovery actions are contingent, effective and sustainable.

To assess the impact of the pandemic on the media landscape in West Africa, the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is collaborating with its national partner organisations in the respective countries, to produce monthly reports highlighting key emerging issues.

The reports focus on five factors of concern that could ultimately impinge on the survival and sustainability of media institutions, journalism professional practice, and freedom of expression in the region. These concerns are: (1) availability and accessibility of information; (2) legal and policy context; (3) safety of journalists; (4) economic sustainability; and (5) media support.

Click here to access the full report.

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