The National President of the Nigeria Union of Journalists – NUJ and President, West African Journalists Association-WAJA, MUHAMMMAD GARBA, extends the goodwill of both WAJA and NUJ to Press Union as it convenes the Congress of its union on Sunday, June 26, 2011. GARBA notes with satisfaction the very dynamic role played by the union in recent years in encouraging the freedom of the press and in promoting democracy.
Despite having suffered a number of setbacks severally, with the obvious but unsuccessful attempts by government to control the media, GARBA condemns the increased harassment of journalists in the Gambia, acts which he says are causing frustration among media professionals in the country.
He however commends the resilience of GPU leadership and members, their commitment to freedom of expression and the rule of law.
The President of NUJ/WAJA is worried that the Government of the Gambia had increasingly continued filing legal cases against media professionals who especially report on allegations of corruption, while security operatives have been used to block access for reporters in several areas and to frighten many journalists into self exile, a development he states is counterproductive. He thus urges the Government of the Gambia to avail itself of the opportunity of the GPU Congress to heal such wounds.
MUHAMMAD GARBA, while expressing concern about the continuation of the independence of the press across the sub region, argues that poor professional standards and ethical violations continue to make the press vulnerable to government attacks. He appeals to all Journalists to strive at all times to adhere strictly to the code of ethics of the profession, as a way of reducing the incidences of acts of impunity against the media.
GARBA , while wishing the GPU a successful Congress, also appeals to delegates to elect credible leaders who will work assiduously with other sister Unions and Associations in the sub region in uplifting the standard of the practice of journalism.
SHU’AIBU USMAN LEMAN
- Read by Louise Thomasi, IFJ Office at the Gambia Press Union Triennial Congress June 24-26, 2011, on behalf of NUJ/WAJA