The top leaders of the Young Journalists Association of the Gambia (YJAG) have unanimously condemned what they described as “irresponsible journalism”. “Some people use the profession to their own interest, hiding behind the “so-called public interest”, Assan Sallah, President of YJAG said. “You cannot be a good journalist if you do not have a good command of the language in which you are expected to publish your articles, Assan added. “How would you write good news articles if you cannot distinguish a subject from a verb? Aminata Sanneh asked rhetorically.
The young journalists’ leaders were speaking at a day training of young and aspiring journalists on basic journalism at the Gambia College campus in Brikama on Friday 11th March 2010.
Assan Sallah went on to say that journalism is not only about receiving the news and reporting it but also analyzing it before publication. Media freedom encompasses a high sense of responsibility. When the balance between freedom and responsibility is disturbed, the good performance and functioning of the media for the political development of a country is in danger. Responsibility is essential in protecting the image of the profession in the public sphere and thus ensuing the trust and confidence of the people. Therefore, journalists should always learn to speak the truth for the sake of credibility.
For Mr. Sallah, journalists and in particular young journalists should always avail themselves the ethics of the profession. “Laws hinder the negative your ethics like all professional codes promote the positive”, Assan Sallah, who also doubles as an editor at the Daily Observer posited.
Aminata Sanneh first vice president of YJAG in presenting on the topic Developing Writing Skills reiterated the importance of language mastery as essential in writing. You should read as much as possible and please do not just read for the sake of reading, she cautioned. “If you want to be a good writer, have an interest in the world around you, love language, have an alert and inquisitive mind, be polite but persistent and be friendly and reliable.
While delivering on the Basics of Journalism, Momodou Idrissa Njie, second vice president of YJAG started by defining journalism as the production of news reports and editorials through the media such as newspapers, magazines, radio, television and the internet. However, we can define journalists as men and women who present news to audience through newspaper, radio, television and the internet. Fields in journalism are very diverse and may include the following: arts, the environment, business, politics, sports, fashion, science, etc.
“Journalism is a career with many challenges and rewards. In all circumstance if you want to be a good journalist, you must heed to the ethics of the profession. Journalists should be honest, free and fair in gathering, reporting and interpreting information. Journalists should remain free of any obligation in any form to any interest except that of the public’s right to know. Journalist should be accountable to their readers, viewers and listeners and to each other.
In her vote of thanks, Fatoumatta Bah, vice president of the Gambia College press club noted with passion her colleagues’ indebtedness to YJAG for the “wonderful presentations”. “We look forward to receiving more training from you in the near future. Ebrima Bah president of the press club moderated the programme which was attended by over fifty students.