By Buba Gagigo
The Vice President of the Gambia Press Union, Muhammad Ms Bah, has called on the Ministry of Health to put Journalist in the list of people that are prioritized for the COVID-19 vaccine.
“We have seen journalists being affected by the COVID-19 and some media houses have closed because of the infection. So I am calling on the Ministry of Health as well as the government in total to see journalists as front line workers, and also prioritize journalists in their list of those who will take the vaccine,” Mr Bah said.
He made these remarks at a day reorientation of the media on Coronavirus pandemic organized by the Directorate of Health Promotion and Education on 12th March 2021in Kanifing.
Responding to the call of the GPU VP, Gibril Gando Baldeh a senior communication officer at the ministry thought excluding journalists in the list is an oversight from the ministry.
“For me I will take it as an oversight, because for me my work in this pandemic is communication just like the journalists. I am in studios, radios and TVs. All that work I’m doing, I do with journalists. I cannot be considered a frontliner, and my colleague journalist who is interviewing me in the same pandemic within the same period, not a frontliner,” Mr Baldeh said.
However, Mr Baldeh later said that the issue has been rectified, as the Minister of Health has requested in a press conference for GPU to provide him a list of journalists, so that they can be considered for the vaccine.
Meanwhile, those among the priority list for the vaccine, include health workers, those with chronic illness such as diabetes, the elderly etc., journalists some of who contracted the virus in line of duty are not in the list.
Muhammed S. Bah is the Vice President of The Gambia Press Union (GPU). He succeeded Mustapha K. Darboe who resigned in the last quarter of 2020. The Union was established on April 20, 1979, as the umbrella organisation for media professionals in The Gambia. With trade union and professional pursuits, the Union is mandated to safeguard the welfare of media professionals and promote press freedom.