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MCG With GPU Calls For Responsible Court Reporting

Modou S. Joof
Gambia Press Union Secretary General 
Photo: Modou S. Joof’s Facebook page 

The Media Council of The Gambia and the Gambia Press Union are hereby reminding individual journalists and media houses to be responsible in their coverage and reporting on court proceedings by upholding the Cherno Jallow Charter of Ethics for Journalists.

Therefore, in the process of covering and reporting on court cases, journalists and media houses are being reminded to 

adhere to the principles of public interest and social responsibility, truth and accuracy, fairness and honesty, 

respect for privacy, minimise harm, avoid sensationalism, be impartial, and avoid the following:

Part 3: Children 

1. Protect and promote the best interest of the child 

2. Place the best interest of the child above any other consideration

3. Ensure standard of excellence in terms of accuracy, sensitivity, responsibility, balance and objectivity when reporting on issues relating to or involving children

4. Avoid publication of any information or an image which might put a child, his/her siblings or peers at risk even when identities are changed or obscured

5. Avoid publication of the identity of the perpetrator, if that could lead to the identification of the survivor

6. Avoid the publication of sensational or stereotypical information relating to children

Part 4: Court and Crime

1. Uphold the ideals of fair hearing

2. Have fair knowledge of and abide by the rules of court

3. Seek permission from the court before any recording of audio, photo or video of any proceedings

4. Reject gifts or bribe or inducement or personal favours from anyone associated with a case

5. Present facts of any court proceeding with fairness and accuracy

6. Avoid interviews about the substance of a case before a Court of law

7. Avoid discussing the substance of a case in the media while the matter is still going on

8. Recuse oneself where one is conflicted 

9. Avoid publication of any material that promotes, sanctions or glamorises crimes

10. Respect and uphold presumption of innocence of accused and suspects

These guidelines should be observed in all coverages of court proceedings and stories related to children.

Journalists and media houses are also being reminded that certain acts contrary to these ethical guidelines may constitute a violation of the Children’s Act and Contempt of Court laws

for which journalists and media workers could face charges and possible jail terms.

Therefore, journalists should refrain from commenting on ongoing court cases.

This reminder is necessitated by the conduct of some journalists and media houses covering the ongoing trial of one

Bob Keita who is accused of rape and another case involving one Sainabou Mbye and the death of a child.

Source: GPU

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