The speaker of Gambia’s National Assembly, Honourable Fatoumatta Jahumpa-Ceesay, on Tuesday received five Gambian journalists – dubbed the Ghana-five – who recently returned from Accra, after a 3-week international studies on parliamentary reporting.

The group comprises Alhagie Jobe, deputy editor-in-chief of the Daily Observer newspaper; Abba AS Gibba, senior news editor of The Point newspaper; Mama Jaye, Famara Fofana, and Nuha Badjie, all of GRTS.

During their stay in Ghana the journalists underwent an intensive three-week international course on parliamentary reporting at the Ghana Institute of Journalism (GIJ), facilitated by the Office of the Speaker of the National Assembly, and funded by the United Nation Development Programme, Banjul office, under its governance programme.

Speaker Jahumpa-Ceesay expressed hope that the Ghana-Five would serve as an example among the many journalists in that country. She used the opportunity to urge the authorities at the country’s first and only university, the University of The Gambia, to consider establishing a journalism school.

She announced that early next year, the second batch of Gambian journalists would be coming to Ghana for the same training.

The National Assembly Speaker believes that specialization by journalists, especially in areas crucial to national development is something important to be given consideration.

She also unveiled plans for the establishment of a state-of-the-art National Assembly with a media centre which, according to her, is President Jammeh’s priority. She then congratulated her Ghana-five for successfully completing the course, urging them to put into practice the knowledge gained.

Momodou Sanneh, Minority Leader and NAM for Kiang West, described the training facilitated by the office of the Speaker as one of the best, one can do for her nation. He described the press as the fourth estate in any nation that recognised its importance.
“Without training the journalists, they will not do their work accurately.

But with such, it will greatly boost their morale, especially as National Assembly reporters,” he said. He then thanked the Speaker and the UNDP for the training and congratulated the Ghana-Five for successfully completing the training.
Abdoulie Kanaji Jawla, NAM for Sandu, also thanked Speaker Fatoumatta Jahumpa-Ceesay for the initiative.

Alhagie Sillah, NAM for Banjul North would not be left out in showering praises on both the Speaker and UNDP. He said that “in order to catch up with the present world status quo, such training for the press is vital.

For Kebba Dibba, Senior Manager, Television Programmes at The Gambia Radio and Television Services (GRTS), the initiative is the first of its kind in the history of the National Assembly. He said “the role of the Assembly and decisions reached always impact on the lives of all Gambians. Therefore enhancing the capabilities of those who disseminate the information of what transpired in the Assembly to the electorates is vital.”

On behalf of the entire media fraternity, he acknowledged the giant efforts of Speaker Jahumpa-Ceesay, as well as the financial assistance of the UNDP to ensure success in the training. He implored on his colleagues to put into reality the knowledge gained, further buttressing on the importance of specialisation in reporting.

Nuha Badjie of GRTS radio, on behalf of the Ghana-Five, thanked Speaker Fatoumatta Jahumpa-Ceesay for facilitating the training and the UNDP for funding it. He gave a brief report of the activities during the three-week training.

Mama Jaye, a producer at GRTS, gave the vote of thanks. Present where Pa Malick Faye, production manager at the Daily Observer, Ebrima Sawaneh, News editor, The Point newspaper, among other National Assembly members. At the end of the ceremony, Speaker Fatoumatta Jahumpa-Ceesay presented gifts of bread from the Kanilai Bakery farm to the Ghana-Five.

Author: by Alagie Jobe
Source: Daily Observer, Gambia

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