By Nasiru Deen
The Media Council of The Gambia (MCG) on October 11, 2021, welcomed its new Executive Secretary, Bai Emil Touray, at a handing over ceremony held at the premises of the Gambia Press Union where the Secretariat of the MCG is housed.
Mr. Touray, a former President of the GPU, takes over from the outgoing Executive Secretary of the MCG, Junkung Jobarteh, who was appointed in April 2020 and began his tenure of service after he was sworn-in office in May.
The MCG was established by the GPU in December 2018 as an independent self-regulatory mechanism for addressing public complaints against the conduct of journalists.
Speaking at the handing over ceremony on Monday, the MCG Chairperson, Bubabacarr Cham, expressed gratitude for the services that Mr. Jobarteh had rendered in his time as Executive Secretary, and congratulated him on the successes he registered at the MCG.
In May 2020, the MCG, which is tasked with arbitrating complaints about media reports without relying on state intervention, began presiding over cases of ethical violation by journalists and media houses.
Within a year and five months, the MCG received nine (9) complaints of ethical violations, five (5) of which were resolved, three (3) were withdrawn, and one (1) case is ongoing.
Mr. Cham also welcomed the new MCG new Executive Secretary, Mr. Touray, who possesses a distinguished record of advocating for the rights and interests of journalists in The Gambia.
He also thanked the GPU for its continuous support to the Council. He said the self-regulatory body needs more support to achieve its aims and objectives and to effectively execute its mandate.
Also speaking at the MCG Office on Monday, the outgoing executive secretary Mr. Jobarteh said he was emotional about leaving the Council, but was sure his successor would be up to the task. “I strongly believe that the MCG will be in great hands under the leadership of Mr. Touray,” he said.
Upon assuming his new role, Mr. Touray thanked the outgoing Executive Secretary and called for his support in the time of transition. He also “pledged to do his best to achieve the short-term and long-term goals of the Council.”
The MCG was formed as a result of collaborative efforts between government and civil society actors working for media reform following the end of the Jammeh-era dictatorship.
The Council is a one-stop-shop mechanism that regulates editorial content across all media platforms – print, radio, television and online – by monitoring compliance of, and implementing the industry-wide code of conduct that establishes ethical standards for journalism in The Gambia.
The Council is governed by an 11-member Governing Council, comprising representatives from the government, media, civil society, private sector, women rights activists and differently able groups.
The Governing Council has a dual role of exercising oversight over the Secretariat and serving as an Appeals Panel, while the Ethics Panel presides over public complaints with respect to media publications.