By Mustapha Ceesay
The President of the Young Journalists’ Association [YJAG], Yankuba Jallow, a perceived critic of the Gambia Press Union [GPU] has expressed satisfaction with the Welfare and Legal Assistant Policies validated by Union members recently.
Jallow, who is heading YJAG, an affiliate of the Union also commended GPU for the initiative.
“I sincerely wish to indicate that I am satisfied with the two policies. This is a great initiative and job well done by the Union. It is very timely. We have been suffering in both the hands of the State and our media chiefs.”
YJAG President, fondly referred to stay-balanced, said the policies are important and are meant to support journalists who come in trouble with the law; as well as address exploitation challenges faced by young journalists.
“The two policies are very important. Any journalist can come into trouble with the law and the person may need legal representation. The Legal Assistance Policy provides the basis. [It] is here to support journalists on that. The journalist will not be required to pay anything. It will be all taken care of by the Union upon fulfilment of the conditions.
“The Welfare Policy is very important especially to young journalists who are mainly exploited. Some media chiefs survive by means of exploitation. This policy is very progressive and it will help journalists in addressing their welfare concerns.”
Reacting to the development on behalf of GPU, Lamin Jahateh, Programme Manager, said the implementation of the Welfare and Legal Assistant Policies will cut cost for the Union and enable focus on the concern of its membership.
“The implementation of these two policies will help the GPU to focus all its meagre resources on the welfare of members, instead of the generality of the Gambian. And the more we are focused on our members alone, the more we will be able to prioritise and take care of their welfare concerns. So at the end of the day, these policies are purely for the interest of members and for their welfare.”
Jahateh informed that the application of the policies should be seen as a wake-up call for journalists who are not yet members of the Union to be part of this growing family so that they can benefit from the largesse that comes with such membership.
The welfare policy among other things, has allocated 20 percent spot to female journalists who are members of the GPU Union in all its training, which is highly welcomed by the Women Journalists’ Association of The Gambia, WoJAG, another affiliate of the Union.
Fatou Touray, a WoJAG member said that the development will have a positive impact on the membership of her association.
“It will have a positive impact [on female journalists] because it gives us the guarantee that our male counterparts are now understanding the issues of women as partners in development; and [men journalists] are willing to give us that required space for women in the media to flow, especially the young ones coming.”
Meanwhile, the Welfare Policy establishes a framework for provision of/access to services, facilities and amenities offered by the GPU as a trade Union for the welfare (and safety) of its members. The Policy lists and articulates the range of direct and tangible benefits for the enjoyment of members. It also sets rules and standards for service delivery in a manner that is efficient and equitable; while the Legal Assistance Policy provides the legal basis for support to GPU members. The objectives of the policy are to provide legal assistance to journalists for purposes of enforcing freedom of expression, and to provide quality and timely legal advice and representation for members.
The policies were validated by GPU individual members on 24th March 2021 at a local hotel in Senegambia. The documents are scheduled for adoption at the Union’s quarterly general meeting slated for 3rd April 2021 at GPU Secretariat.
The Gambia Press Union [GPU] is a trade union for media practitioners in The Gambia, established in 1978, and currently has a minimum of 500 registered members.