By Binta Jaiteh
Gambian journalists have been urged to report on cases of female genital mutilation, child marriage and gender-based violence.
Nenneh Touray, Deputy Director in the Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment Directorate, Ministry of Gender Equality and Social Welfare, made the calls during a two-day training that was recently held in Pakaliba.
“If you want people to do their job accurately, you have to train them with adequate knowledge and for this reason we believe it is necessary to build the capacity of journalists to report on gender-based violence, especially CME and marriage of children, which could sometimes be complex in the way we report sometimes can hinder the amount of advocacy, the amount of work done to ensure that FGM/C and child marriage are totally prohibited in this country,” said she declared.
“The importance of this training cannot be overemphasized as a media personnel your role is not only to broadcast but also the information must be authentic and serve as advocates especially the FGMCChild Marriage which has a lot consequences on the individual and the community as a whole,” she added.
According to her, training cannot be enough because we have new entrants into the profession. This is why we are constantly building the capacity of network members because when we start the initial training, we are building the capacity of 25 journalists.
All the training started when we had a child protection program from FGMC and child marriage which is the one we had UNICEF, in 2019 we decided to organize a training with journalists especially the members of the network from there we had a constant program with the network.
“UNICEF has consistently supported the network program and we feel that we should not slack off when someone is also helping you to improve. As part of UNICEF, we have had a capacity building program and follow it up with media outreach activities, panel discussions, radio and television phone calls because we believe that capacity building programs are never enough, we will constantly train our members to ensure that they are fully equipped with the facts that will be sent to the public for public consumption.As I have always stressed, if you give information that is ultimately not authentic, readers will not have confidence that journalists are people the public trusts, anything sent should be authentic and factual,” she said.
She said that is why we deem it necessary to give adequate information on the legal instruments of FGM/C, the health consequences of child marriage and child protection issues, gender and gender based violence. gender including media ethics because whatever you do should be based on the ethics of the profession and it does not stop at the media adding that security personnel and immigration have also been trained to help them manage GBV cases. We will continue to work with different segments of the public including MDFTs, Tags and community leaders teaching them role models that are used to ensure community members are at the forefront of addressing GBV, child marriage and FGM/C.
The department has insisted on being ethical because as soon as you send out any information and people feel that that particular journalist information is not authentic, your integrity will be at stake and that of your newspapers, but I would like to remind the reporter that children’s issues are very sensitive and that’s why when reporting children, their identity, location and school must be totally concealed, otherwise it may chase that child away in the future and no one will knows what the position of the child will be in the meantime unless and until the investigation is complete, sending reports when the investigation is in progress may hamper the investigation process.
Pateh Baldeh, Chairperson of The Gambia Network of Women Journalists for Gender and Cultural Advancement, said capacity building was ongoing and it was not the first time members had benefited from such training. with the Ministry of Gender.
”I am happy that this training took place in Pakalinding at the time when the network was formed under the same ministry. Therefore, it showed that we benefit and cooperate with the ministry for the benefit of the members. I urge network members to take ownership of the network.