Attacks on the Press in 2005 - Snapshots: Senegal
|Publisher||Committee to Protect Journalists|
|Publication Date||February 2006|
|Cite as||Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 2005 - Snapshots: Senegal, February 2006, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/47c56720c.html [accessed 29 July 2015]|
A trial began in July for Madiambal Diagne, publication director of the independent daily Le Quotidien, on charges of threatening national security, publishing false news, and publishing secret government documents. The government has yet to repeal the controversial Article 80 of Senegal's penal code, under which Diagne was placed in "preventive detention" for two weeks in 2004, despite repeated promises to do so. The trial was ongoing at year's end.
The same month, government officials warned journalists not to broadcast recordings of former Prime Minister Idrissa Seck, after Seck was imprisoned on national security and corruption charges. The police later summoned and questioned several local journalists with alleged ties to Seck, including veteran political commentator Abdou Latif Coulibaly. Jailing Seck, who was considered to be a political rival of President Abdoulaye Wade, called into question Wade's democratic credentials,according to local journalists and political analysts.
In September, chief caliph Serigne Saliou Mbacké ordered three FM radio stations based in the Muslim holy city of Touba to leave the city within three days, saying he intended to "preserve the holy city from occult practices contrary to Islam." The commercial station Disso, the local branch of state-owned Radio Télévision Sénégalaise, and community radio station Hizbut Tarqiyah went off the air immediately. Local sources told CPJ that the expulsion could be linked to news and discussion programs broadcast by Disso, including a recent phone-in program in which several callers criticized Touba's elected governing council. Disso's director, Ibrahima Benjamin Diagne, told CPJ that local politicians influenced the caliph, who is a spiritual leader. While not legally binding, a ruling by the caliph carries great practical weight.
In October, authorities closed the private radio station Sud FM and detained dozens of its staff following the broadcast of an interview with Salif Sadio, a radical member of the rebel movement in southern Casamance. Authorities also banned distribution of the October 17 edition of Sud-Quotidien, a newspaper from the same media group as the radio station, which published the text of the interview. Following a public outcry, the station was authorized to resume broadcasting late the same day and the staff members were released. Authorities maintained a ban on "the broadcast, rebroadcast, or publication of the incriminating interview by any media outlet." Local sources said some of the journalists who had been questioned could be criminally charged.