Gambia: EU envoy underlines press freedom in building democracy

Banjul, Gambia (PANA) - European Union (EU) Ambassador to The Gambia, Attilas Lajos, on Monday told members of the country's security forces that a free press is always essential to democracy, no matter how young or old it may be.

“Media can be an irritant to governments around the world, but it is not the enemy. If we limit press freedom, what happens to democracy?” he asked at the opening of a three-day training for Gambian security forces on freedom of expression and safety of journalists.

Funded by the EU, the training aims to improve the capacity of security forces in the West African country to guarantee freedom of expression and the safety of journalists in the context of the implementation of the UN plan of action on the safety of journalists and the issue of impunity.

"A democratic government is supposed to be accountable to the people who voted it into power, and a free press informs the people about what is happening so the people, the voters  can hold their representatives accountable,” Lajos said.

Speaking at the same event, the representative of UNESCO Regional Office for West Africa, Leszek Jeremy, said that strengthening the capacities of Gambian security forces to guarantee freedom of expression and safety of journalists is an integral part of UNESCO’s work in promoting fundamental human rights in their domains of competence.

“I am confident that the work shop will promote an enabling environment for freedom of expression, press freedom and the safety of journalists, including media pluralism and participation,” he said.

“The overall objective of this project, implemented by UNESCO, is to contribute to better democratic governance in The Gambia through improving freedom of the press and the quality of information available to the population,” he added.
-0- PANA MSS/AR 5June2017

05 june 2017 19:55:04

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