A three-day training sessions for Gambian Security Forces on freedom of expression and the safety of journalists organised by Article 19 West Africa with the support of UNESCO and the European Union came to a closed on Saturday.
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.
It was also meant to create an enabling environment for both security personnel and the media to network and share experiences for the development of the country.
In her vote of thanks, Mary Anne Ndiaye-Ajayi, one of the participants, stated that the training has armed them with ways geared towards promoting a healthy relationship between security forces and journalists in order to serve the citizens.
She said that there should be no mistrust between the two partners, as lack of partnership and cooperation between security personnel and journalists would hinder democratic governance in The Gambia.
"As participants, we promised to build a better relation for a democratic country." she said.
For his part, Leszek Jereme Bialy on behalf of UNESCO Regional Office for West Africa, applauded the participants for their effort, which according to her, has contributed to the overall success of the training.
The the main aim of UNESCO, she went on, is to defend freedom of expression and its corollaries throughout the world. He urged media associations and security forces to elaborate and submit project proposals to the International Programme for the Development of Communication (IPDC), a multilateral forum in the UN system designed to mobilize the international community to discuss and promote media development in developing countries.
The Regional Director ARTICLE 19 West Africa, Fatou Jagne Senghore said the training session coordinated by ARTICLE 19, is the third in a series held in West Africa, after Senegal and Mali in April this year.
She underscored the need to re-establish trust and professional working relationship between security forces and the media in the country.
Geoffrey Bala Gaye, the Senior Assistant Secretary at the Ministry of Interior, on behalf of the Minister of Interior, applauded the organizers of the event for such an important initiative and the participants for their cooperation.
The training, according to him, will go a long way in helping both the journalists and the security forces in the country.
"It will create conducive environment for the journalists to work and have access to valuable information for the citizenry".