By: Alieu Jallow
The Journalism Student’s Association of the University of The Gambia celebrated Founders’ Day on Wednesday. The day is meant to pay tribute to the founding fathers of journalism and the School of Journalism and Digital Media, especially those who played crucial roles in shaping the landscape.
During the opening formalities, the Dean of the School of Journalism and Digital Media, Dr. Wumi Morolake Adekunle, underscored the role of journalists in holding the government accountable and amplifying the voice of society, emphasizing the importance of journalism that promotes peace. She urged them not to rush to publish unverified news.
“Responsible journalism is key in promoting peace in society. You should consider whether the news you are publishing will promote peace in the country or society.”
Dr. Adekunle challenged the students to organize a forum like this, where the students of the School of Journalism can familiarize themselves with the content of the Information Act so that they can be abreast of what is expected of journalists.
Fatou Sowe, Chairperson of the Journalism Student Association, highlighted the country’s significant strides towards press freedom, citing the emergence of a more diverse and vibrant media landscape that provides opportunities for different perspectives to be heard. She, however, outlined some of the challenges confronting the media landscape but called for collaborative efforts to overcome them.
“Understanding press freedom goes beyond the legal right to express opinions and report on events. It entails a commitment to journalistic ethics, integrity, and the pursuit of truth. As journalists, it is our responsibility to provide accurate, balanced, and unbiased information to the public. By doing so, we empower individuals to make informed decisions and actively participate in democracy.”
Prince Abubakar Aminata Sankanu, Deputy Government Spokesperson and a lecturer at the School of Journalism, outlined the government’s commitment to ensuring press freedom and providing the democratic space for the media to operate freely.
“You should take the responsibility to manage the information you publish. Just because there is democracy doesn’t mean there is absolute freedom; your freedom stops where your neighbor’s right starts.”
IPRO of the association, Fatima Kebbeh, expressed dissatisfaction over what she felt was a lack of support from the school administration and lecturers.
The weeklong activity witnessed a series of events, including a sponsored walk, a panel discussion on the state of press freedom, and a menstrual talk and sanitary pad drive.