As the race toward the December 4th election gains momentum, with only 11 days left, a former speaker of the National Assembly has urged the media as the Fourth Estate of the realm to exercise responsibility and ensure that their platforms are not used for the propagation of hate and to disseminate inflammatory language.
Hon. Mrs Elizabeth Renner was speaking Monday at a press conference held at a local hotel in the Senegambia area.
In a press statement, she called for an end to the use of hate speech in the ongoing political campaigns.
It would be recalled that earlier this month, all the six presidential candidates signed a Code of Conduct to ensure a peaceful election.
In the Code, all the candidates committed themselves and their supporters to a peaceful election.
Also, their commitment to credible elections, peace, justice and the democratic stability of the nation.
Among other things, they further agreed to publicly condemn violence, intimidation and political thuggery, at any time during the election process; to refrain from and condemn the use of religious, sectarian, ethnic and tribal politics in the campaign.
The candidates also agreed to refrain from making or causing others to make “in our name or in the name of our party”, any public statements, pronouncements, declarations or speeches that have the potential to incite any form of ethnic, tribal or religious sentiments, and which could impede access to eligible voters by political opponents.
Expressing her displeasure, former speaker Renner added: “It’s noted with deep concern, that the campaign period has seen increased political activities and heightened tensions. Incidents of hate speech by political activists have been recorded on our television and radio stations.
“In this regard, we the five guarantors of the Code of Conduct namely, Chairman of the Christian Council Bishop James Allen Yaw Odico, President of the Supreme Islamic Council Sheikh Essa Darboe, Hon. Elizabeth F.Y. Renner, Mr. Ousman Yabo and HE Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, and the National Elections Response Group (NERG) would like to take this opportunity to remind all Presidential Candidates of their commitments to avoid hate speech and conduct peaceful campaigns.
“We are appealing to all Gambians, including our vibrant youth to maintain the peace, stability and security of the nation.”