Monday, February 20, 2012


The Young Journalists Association of The Gambia acronym YJAG delegates five members of the association to attend media training organised by The Gambia Red Cross with funding from the European Union Non State Actors project.
Under the theme “ Promoting Human Rights and International Standards in The Gambia” brought together print, electronic, online, journalists associations and networks that focuses their works in the area of human rights both in The Gambia and outside.
Mamadou Edrisa Njie and Aminata Sanneh advisers YJAG, Sulayman Ceesay Treasure, Meita Touray and Amat JENG members took part in the media training at the Baobab Holiday Resort from 12- 14 January, 2012.
Chairing the ceremony, Mr. Lamin Gassama dissemination coordinator for EU Human Rights programme manager told journalists that the project designed under the EU Non State Actors has underline the importance of the role of the media in the society especially in the area of human rights.
He thanked journalists and organisation representative for the heart felt gratitude and commended them for accepting their invitations and turn out positively.
This, Gassama said shows the importance attached to the training saying that present at the training has shown what he would say ‘nationalism’.
“We (Red Cross) are quite aware of the important role of the media and will not lose sight in any of our activities of not inviting your media outlets in our programmes.”
He said that that journalist with their pens and microphones could effect positive change in the country by demonstrating developmental journalism- reporting and broadcasting on development programmes and policies in newspapers, radio, television and online.
 Gassama told his audience (journalists) that the media is a fundamental pillar in their project. The out come of the training, he said could be a formation of a network of partnership between journalists and Red Cross in promoting human rights in the country.
According to him, human rights understanding in the country is ‘very low’, urged journalists to report more on human rights issues happening the country.
This, he went on will improve the understanding of human rights among Gambians especially the rural folk.
“A good number of Gambian citizens looks at you (journalists) as oppressions, but was quick to say that most of them fail to understand the role of the media in the society.
Journalists, he said are good advocate in society as they can write and talk about happens in the society that are ill guts.
Journalists writing and broadcasting about human rights, Gassama told his audience that all gears to improving the livelihood of Gambians taking rural Gambia- Lower River, Central River, and Upper River Region respectively.
He also dilated on The Gambia Red Cross and Spanish Red Cross collaboration and works they jointly do to implement activities in the rural country.
Going further, Gassama cited some of the project that they are carrying in the rural Gambia- water and sanitation project in five communities in Central River Region, capacity building also in Central River Region and food security programme in both Central River and Upper River region respectively.
The joint project, accordingly, provides Ambulance and rehabilitation of health facilities.
 When he took his turn, Mr. Katim Nget acting secretary Gambia Red Cross said that Gambian people cannot demand their rights if they don’t know their rights saying that the media have a great role to play for Gambians to know their rights.
“When we talk about human rights, we are talking about survival,” said Nget, the media have a ‘big’ role to play in informing people about their rights.
Nget stated that many human rights violation has taken place in the country but due to the ignorance of many who can’t seek redress. “We have rights but most of the time we don’t know our rights whether been violated or not, simply because we don’t know them.”
He advised journalists to always and at all times disseminate accurate, truthful and public interest information.
 Human rights violation and low understanding of human rights, Nget said is not only in The Gambia but both regionally and internationally.
 In a short and brief statement, Madam Karim Kartal  Spanish Red Cross delegate said they (Red Cross) are happy to organised the training as well as to forge partnership with the journalists. The training, she said is happening in their framework EU Non-State Actors project, targeting different stakeholders in the country.
She also emphasised the importance role the media can play in a democratic state by informing citizens on their rights.
 At the end of the training, Aminata Sanneh adverse of YJAG said the training is very participatory noting that the knowledge gained from the training will be put into good use, she said in an interview.
According to her, YJAG participation is paramount as members will be equip with knowledge that in turn they can share it with other members.
For Meita Touray, the training is timely as we user in the year 2012 saying that the training will be a steeping stone for members to engage in human rights reporting in 2012.
She also commended The Gambia Red Cross for organising such as training as well as extending invitation to the association.
“Truly am very pleased to be part of the training and for YJAG to be given the highest number of participants with five of its members been participants.”
She called on other associations, government, non-governmental organisations consider YJAG in their training, seminars, etc.
YJAG, she said could be counted among associations in The Gambia and has since establishment not lost focus in its activities.
She further called on media association and organisations to work according to their mission and vision statement, she advised, YJAG can be a very good nursey bed for proper germination of journalism in The Gambia saying that a good number of the members are holding high positions in the Gambian media cycle.
While encouraging members to have team sprit and work for the betterment of the association. “YJAG is here to train young ones as well as aspiring journalists in the profession,” she remarked.
Human rights are those rights that belong to every individual- man or woman, girl or boy, infant or elderly- simply because she or he is a human being.
“Human rights have nothing to do with western life but our given rights for us (human beings) to live in dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights.
 Sulayman Ceesay Treasure and Amat JENG a member all made similar remarks.

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