By Mammy Saidykhan
The Gambia Press Union (GPU) in partnership with the University of the Gambia Students’ Union (UTGSU) on 18th September, 2021 reviewed and validated a study on the prevalence of hate speech in the Gambian media.
The validation workshop held at Baobab Hotel in Bijilo is part of a UNDP-funded project aimed at enhancing young women and men’s participation as stakeholders in ensuring peaceful democratic processes and their roles as advocates for the prevention of violence and hate speech.
The research is intended to ascertain the level and magnitude of hate speech in the media so as to initiate measures to address the menace. It is also meant ensure good understanding on issue of hate speech and the propagators, but also the subject matter of hate speech, whether tribe or religion.
“So promoting peace should be everyone’s responsibility. The media, young people and everybody matters as far as peace is concerned. All of us have to nurture peace but some stakeholders are to serve as peace advocates,” Pa Modou Faal, board member of GPU, said on Saturday.
Yusupha Bojang, Program Manager at the National Council for Civic Education (NCCE), said that despite freedom of speech is recognised as a fundamental right in Section 25 and 26 of the 1997 Constitution, it must be measured and in line with the laws of The Gambia.
The right to freedom of speech is not absolute as stated in Section 209 of the 1997 Constitution.
“Hate speech and related vices have no place in our democracy. The task of nurturing the country’s embryonic democracy and maintenance of peace is a collective one,” Bojang said.