The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) has in February 2017 approved a US$39,995 grant for the Gambia Press Union (GPU), a statement from the umbrella body for Gambian journalists, GPU reveals.

The one-year project aims to enhance the ability of the media to investigate and better report on freedom of expression abuse, governance, transparency, and on elections.

According to the GPU, the funding will complement ongoing efforts by the body, and its national and international partners, in facilitating reforms promised by the Government of the Gambia for improved environment for freedom of expression.

“With the NED support, the Gambia Press Union will among other activities, undergo institutional capacity building in order to be adequately equipped to advise the government and other national and international stakeholders on media reforms” the Union said.

Accordingly, the Union says it will also conduct a research on the impact of legal, political and cultural restrictions of freedom of expression and the press on economic development and democracy in the Gambia. “The goal of this research is to look at the extent to which the lack of freedom of speech undermines development efforts” it stated.

“Women journalists will be engaged on human rights, laws and policies regarding women’s rights to provide them the skills to advocate for themselves and other women. The community radio broadcasters will be provided with knowledge on the principles and the importance of freedom of expression rights” the GPU concluded.