The Gambia Press Union on Monday launched a document aimed at promoting the advocacy for an enabling legal environment for freedom of expression and that of the press.
The 20-page document titled, ‘Review of Gambia Media Laws’ places emphasis on the media laws as spelt out in the 1997 constitution, The Gambia’s obligation under international law and the way forward.
Speaking at the launch of the document on Monday, the President of the Gambia Press Union Sheriff Bojang Jnr said media practitioners in the country should not be complacent.
“Still, we have some laws that we still fight, that we will always fight for them to be repealed from our law books and this is the period when we need all stakeholders; we need out colleagues; we need our partners to make sure that there is a conducive atmosphere in the country for journalists to operate,” Bojang said.
“When we think of the fight against these laws we’re not only thinking of this government, we’re thinking of what might come tomorrow. When this government leaves who knows, maybe we’ll have another Jammeh regime in another form and then they are justified to use such laws to suppress dissent and freedom of expression.”
According to Bojang, Gambian journalists through the Gambia Press Union are not going to be combative in an effort to make the legal media environment more conducive.
He said: “We want to discuss this with the government and all stakeholders maturely, in the interest of the country, in the interest of the progress of this country and in the interest of what we all see as transition.”
The Minister of Information and Communication Infrastructure, Ebrima Sillah, speaking through the permanent secretary at his ministry said the document strategic in the sense that it “is intended to help enhance the right to freedom of speech and expression including the freedom of the press.”
“Press freedom and development have a direct correlation. I wish to assure you of my ministry resolve to support and partner with the GPU and all stakeholders in the quest for an enabling legal environment for freedom of expression and of the press,” he said.