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Freedom of the Press - Senegal (2004)

Publisher Freedom House
Publication Date 28 April 2004
Cite as Freedom House, Freedom of the Press - Senegal (2004), 28 April 2004, available at: [accessed 28 May 2016]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Status: Partly Free
Legal Environment: 12
Political Influences: 16
Economic Pressures: 9
Total Score: 37

Population: n/a
GNI/capita: n/a
Life Expectancy: 53
Religious Groups: Muslim (94 percent), other [including Roman Catholic and indigenous beliefs](6 percent), Ethnic Groups: Wolof (43.3 percent), Pular (23.8 percent), Serer (14.7 percent), Jola (3.7 percent), Mandinka (3 percent), Soninke (1.1 percent), European and Lebanese (1 percent), other (9.4 percent)
Capital: Dakar

Despite constitutional provisions for freedom of expression and the press, observers expressed concern that the government of President Abdoulaye Wade increasingly felt the need to restrict these rights in 2003. Press laws that prohibit "discrediting the state" and disseminating "false news" are sometimes used to prosecute journalists. While the threat of legal penalties has resulted in some self-censorship, the independent print press and several dozen private radio stations are often highly critical of the government and political parties. Nevertheless, the only local television station is controlled by the state, and coverage favors the ruling party; in July, the High Audiovisual Commission, a media watchdog, criticized this station for not broadcasting news that might embarrass the government. Access to foreign publications and broadcasts and to the Internet is unrestricted. Reporters who cover sensitive topics sometimes face harassment at the hands of the authorities. Early in the year, several cases were reported of journalists' being assaulted by police as they attempted to cover the news. In August, Abdou Latif Coulibaly, director of the independent Sud FM radio station and the author of a book critical of President Wade, said he had been receiving anonymous death threats, which he blamed on members of the ruling party. Authorities expelled the correspondent for Radio France Internationale (RFI) in October after RFI aired an interview that the reporter conducted with a hardline member of the separatist Movement of the Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC). Senegal's interior ministry accused the reporter of trying to sabotage the peace process that is aimed at ending the two-decade-old conflict

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