Don’t allow hate speech, inflammatory language on your media – Former Speaker

Hon. Elizaberth Renner, Former Speaker of The Gambia National Assembly

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.”

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Mr. Sainey M.K. Marenah is a Prominent Gambian journalist, founding editor The Alkamba Times and formerly head of communications at the Constitutional Review Commission (CRC) and Communications and PR Consultant for The Gambia Pilot Program, under Gamworks. Mr. Marenah served as the Social media Strategist and Editor at Gambia Radio and Television Services. He is also the Banjul Correspondent for Voice of America Radio. Sainey is a human rights and developmental journalist who has carved a strong niche particularly in new media environments in the Gambian media industry. Mr. Marenah began his career as a junior reporter with the Point Newspaper in the Gambia in 2008 and rose through the ranks to become Chief correspondent before moving to The Standard Newspaper also in Banjul as Editorial Assistant and head of News. He is a household name in the Gambia’s media industry having covered some of the most important stories in the former and current government. These include the high profile treason cases including the Trial of Former military chiefs in Banjul in 2009 to 2012. Following his arrest and imprisonment by the former regime of President, Yahya Jammeh in 2014, Marenah moved to Dakar Senegal where he continues to practice Journalism freelancing for various local and international Media organization’s including the BBC, Al-Jazeera, VOA, and ZDF TV in Germany among others. He is the co-Founder of the Banjul Based Media Center for Research and Development; an institution specialized in research and development undertakings. As a journalist and Communication Expert, focused on supporting the Gambia's transitional process, Mr Marenah continues to play a pivotal role in shaping a viable media and communications platform that engages necessary tools and action to increase civic participation and awareness of the needs of transitional governance to strengthen the current move towards democratization. Mr. Marenah has traveled extensively as a professional journalist in both Europe, Africa and United States and attended several local and international media trainings.

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