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Media Literacy

PTCIJ is a partner of UNESCO and trains Gambian youth leaders in media skills


Before the presidential elections on Jan. Premium Times Center for Investigative Journalism (PTCIJ) has trained 40 young community leaders in the Gambia in media and information literacy.

The three-day training, which is supported by the United Nations Education, Science and Culture Organization (UNESCO), took place from November 29th to December 1st at the Senegambia Beach Hotel.

PTCIJ’s Acting Executive Director Tobi Oluwatola welcomed the participants, who come from youth-centered civil society organizations (CSOs), and emphasized the importance of media and information literacy in Gambia’s efforts to promote its young democracy.

“As The Gambia prepares for its first post-Jammeh parliamentary elections to cement the country’s nascent democracy, media users need to be careful about accessing and using information. Media and information literacy (MIL) is a prerequisite for democratic participation and the preservation of freedom of expression, ”he said.

The training included sessions on democracy and information literacy, freedom of information and expression, fact checking and verification, internet opportunities and challenges, among others.

At various times, participants also took part in group assignments to measure their understanding of the sessions and assess plans to disseminate the knowledge gained.

Ajie Sonko, president of the Gambian Ladies Organization, said the training sessions helped her understand the information ecosystem.

“I’ve done a lot in these sessions that we had,” she said. “I got to know things that I never knew. I learned things like types of information disruption … misinformation, disinformation, and misinformation. I think this is very important in our environment as information moves the world forward and when there is information disruption in a country there is no way the country can move forward. “

Ms. Sonko promised to pass on what she had learned to members of her organization and others.

“If I leave, I will not be selfish and keep what I have learned to myself. I will make sure that I teach what I have learned to my organization members and not just them in the immediate society. Whenever my organization goes out into the countryside, I will make sure that we educate people in media and information literacy, ”she said.

Similarly, Joe Bongay, executive director of Young Volunteers for the Environment, said he learned a lot from the sessions.

“In the last three days we have acquired a very good knowledge of fact checks and the detection of fake news … which is very important for my organization and in the process of our development work. The Gambia is still changing and I think this training comes at the right time. It will help to involve young people in the democratization of the still young Gambia. Democracy is still not well understood by many people. This type of training will help us to filter the issue of democracy through communication with the local people and local development partners in order to understand, respect and apply together what helps us to become a nation, “he said.

In Gambia, the smallest country on the African mainland, a president will be elected on Saturday. The Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) acquitted six candidates for election, the first since dictator Yahya Jammeh’s escape in 2017.

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