By Landing Ceesay
The Gambia Press Union has presented the report and simplified guidelines on Access to Information and Elections in Africa.
The report is a joint project by the Gambia Press Union (GPU), Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC), and Panos Institute of Southern Africa (PASf).
It aims to promote transparency and accountability in the electoral process in Africa.
The document specifically focuses on the extent to which relevant electoral stakeholders proactively disclose electoral information.
Ms Isatou Keita, GPU Vice President described the report as very important to the journalists, especially in the dissemination of information to the public.
“Access to Information is quite very important and everyone here knows about it, especially us journalists. We disseminate information, but if the information we tend to disseminate is limited, it becomes a problem. In most cases, these are what lead to fake news, misinformation and disinformation. The guidelines actually provide us with direction on access to information in the electoral process to strengthen democratic governance in Africa,” she said.
Meanwhile, John Charles Njie, Chairman, Civil Society Coalition on Elections said the Access to Information Law is beyond only accessing information, but disseminating the right information.
“There is a reason for having Access to Information Law and the reason for having it is not only for us to be able to access information. But for us also to disseminate the right information. Unfortunately, what I see in this country is what I consider and term lazy journalism. Journalism that is out to look for fame. That is why most of the time people are in the rush to put out information in the name of ‘I was the first to take it out’ without checking whether the information is right or not,” Mr Njie said.
The presentation ceremony took place at a local hotel in Bijilo on Saturday morning.