Wednesday, December 23, 2009

NHRJ Human Rights Training for Fifty Journalists

The Network of Human Right Journalist (NHRJ) has takes an initiative to promote human rights, justice, fight against prejudice, inequality, discrimination, and impunity, the lack of development and human security and other ill affecting society by training fifty (50) members to qualify and working to high professional standards in the area of human rights.
The training which is underway at the Gambia Press Union (GPU) no.5 Garba Jahumpa Road, Bakau sponsored by the United States Embassy in Banjul will run from 21st -25th December 2009.
In his welcoming remarks, the co-ordinator of NHRJ, Musa S. Sheriff said that with this kind of training, he is certain that the Network will achieve its objectives, nationally, regionally, and internationally, as clearly spelled out in the constitution of the Network.
“Considering the numerous challenges confronting our society’s development activities, the Network solicited support from the American Embassy for the establishment of a secretariat and training for our members to enable us to proactive role in promoting human rights and freedom of expression”.
According to Sheriff, freedom of expression is a critical element of building strong democracies society, enhancing civic participation and good governance, and promoting justice and peace.
“We are taking up this initiative to promote human rights, justice, fight against prejudice, inequality, discrimination, and impunity, the lack of development and human security, and other ill affecting society.
“We are up to adding voice to the millions of hardworking Africans, and other parts of the world, we intend to do this training because we are deeply concern with the prevailing hostile environment under which the Gambian media operates, the continued and increasing violation and abuses of human rights, and the power used by the state security agents.”
Co-ordinator Sheriff added that as part of the association’s objectives, is to strengthen the professional competence of print, electronic, and online journalism and seek to improve the performance of journalistic training activities particularly on human rights.
For a media house to work on high professional standards, he said it must have qualified journalists working to high professional standards.
Mr. Sheriff explained that the network is a non-political, non-governmental and non-profit making charitable association of journalists committed to promoting and protecting human and people’s rights as clearly spelled out in the Gambian constitution.
The vision, he went on is to ensure a human rights friendly world by restoring and maintaining a vibrant independent press operation in a democratic and press society adding that this can be achieved through embarking on promotional campaigns and mass media advocacy programs and activities.
Secretary General of GPU, Mr. Emil Touray said that the union is pleased to be associated with such training as it will equip member with in-depth knowledge about human right issues.
He stated that democracy and human rights are essential issues in life noting that human right plays an important role in our life. Human rights are not western concept but universal concepts. He said.
According to him, some of the people know human rights when their rights are violated adding that “we should know our rights even they are not violated, for that to be achieved we need to equip ourselves with the instruments”.
Mr. Touray noted that we should always speak about the truth and explored the truth, share experiences with colleagues.
Sam Sarr Editor-in- chief of Foroya Newspaper stated that it is the duty of the executive, judiciary, legislative and press to work together to make a headway in the country.
He added “if the executives, national assembly, civil society organizations, press and the judiciary all work together in ensuring that fundamental rights and freedom of expression are respected, protected and safe guarded in the country, we will make a headway for our beloved nation.
“We live in the 21st century and democracy is in completed where freedoms, fundamental rights are constantly violated and where impunity is the order of the day.”
He called on all to play their roles in promoting, protecting and safe guarding fundamental rights and freedom.
Fabakary B. Ceesay, communication and public relation officer chaired the occasion.

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