By Landing Ceesay
Premium Times Centre for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) has started a 3-day training of young Gambian activists on media and information literacy.
The training organized by UNESCO aims to strengthen the capacities of Gambian youth leaders to confidently seek, critically evaluate and contribute to media and information, online and offline.
“As The Gambia prepares for its first post-Jammeh general elections, seeking to consolidate the country’s nascent democracy, there is a need to enable media users to access and use information prudently. Media and Information Literacy (MIL) is a prerequisite for democratic participation and preserving freedom of expression.
“Information disorder has been with us from the beginning of time- a notable example, for people of faith, being between Eve and the Serpent in the Garden of Eden. What is new is the evolution of technologies that allow mass information disorder to spread quickly and faster, with often gravely pernicious effects on individuals, businesses and democratic communities,” Tobi Oluwatola from PTCIJ said while virtually addressing the participants.
Caroline ANIPAH, programme officer, Dubawa (Ghana), PTCIJ, gave the reason for the training at such a crucial moment that the country is facing.
“We feel that it is crucial that we do it at this time because of the season and the time we are in. We have less than a week to the presidential election and we know how crucial the media has become in getting access to information to make informed and critical decisions. The internet has become sort of an enabler for the dissemination of disinformation, misinformation, malinformation, and all sorts of information that basically confuse people. Sometimes people are not able to differentiate between what is truthful and what is not. They don’t even know the credible sources to tune to get accurate information. That’s why we are here to help these activists to understand media and information literacy,” she explained.
The objective of the three-day training is to build the capacity of young people with MIL skills to enable them to engage ethically with information and media, particularly social media, for positive community development through peaceful and democratic public discourse.