The Gambia Press Union (GPU) is set to hold a Press Conference tomorrow morning at their Secretariat in Fajara on the National Assembly’s decision to bar journalists from the National Assembly proceedings. Meanwhile earlier today the National Assembly doubled down on their decision to bar the media besides QTV, GRTS and EyeAfrica TV from the National Assembly chambers. Both statements are below.
GPU Press Conference Tomorrow
“UPDATE: GPU will host a press conference at the Secretariat tomorrow, September 16th 2020 at 10am. The Executive shall update the media and Gambians on the Union’s position regarding the National Assembly’s decision on journalists covering proceedings.
In observance of the Covid19 regulations, the event would be held outdoors. Physical distancing and other safety precautions would be observed.
Earlier today the National Assembly released a Media advisory explaining their decision to allow only QTV, GRTS and EyeAfrica TV from covering the first reading of the Constitution Bill, 2020. They intend to continue keeping other media houses out.
“The Office of the Clerk wishes to inform journalists and media organizations that the Third Ordinary Session of the National Assembly is being convened from the 14th-24th September 2020. The Session is convened at a time that The Gambia is at its peak in the Covid 19 pandemic.
Aware of the severity of the Covid 19 situation in the country and considering the need to convene this Session in a safe and conducive manner, protecting the health and wellbeing of both Hon. Members staff and journalist who cover National Assembly proceedings is paramount.
The Office of the Clerk after due consultations and mindful of the need to convene a safe Session and the citizens right to information, adopted a media strategy that limits the participation of journalists in the Chamber but provides real time information on diverse platforms to enable journalists and other information media to follow the proceedings of this Session and disseminate to their respective audiences.
In this regard, Journalists and media outlets who wish to cover the proceedings of the Assembly are kindly advised to take feeds from the National Assembly’s social media platforms (Facebook page and YouTube channel). Permission is also granted to all journalists and media organizations to use and brand the raw footage streamed on the National Assembly’s media platforms to suit their respective media standards.
Furthermore, the Office of the Clerk has also designated the Auditorium as a Press Center from where journalists who wish to be within the precincts of the Assembly can monitor the proceedings of the Session and file their news reports. Journalists will also be able to conduct safe interviews with Hon. Members at the Press Center.
The strategy is not implemented with a discriminatory intent; it is designed to protect Hon. Members, staff and the journalists themselves from possible exposure to contact.
The Fifth Legislature has never at any given time limited access of anybody more so journalists from attending Sessions and Committee proceedings. However, we are in extra ordinary times and care and caution is what should dictate our actions.
We hope the media and all those concern understand our collective situation as these are temporary measures initiated due to the Covid 19 situation of the Country.
The Office of the Clerk solicits the usual cooperation and understanding of the media fraternity.”