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A court in Dakar, the capital, on August 14, 2013, sentenced Mamadou Biaye, former editor of the private daily Le Quotidien, and Bastien David, an intern reporter for the paper, to one month in prison each on charges of criminal defamation, Agence France-Presse reported.

On December 18, 2012, a judge convicted editor El Malick Seck of weekly news magazine L'Exclusif of criminal defamation over a column critical of Sidy Lamine Niasse, the chief executive of private media group Walf, according to news reports.

Police in Dakar, the capital, summoned Alassane Samba Diop, director of Radio Futurs Médias (RFM), for four hours of questioning on August 25, 2012, over an interview he broadcast the night before with the leader of a hardline Islamist group, according to news reports.

CCTV's East Africa operations are headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya. (CCTV)

Will China's quickly expanding media presence in Africa result in a fresh, alternative, and balanced perspective on the continent--much as Al-Jazeera altered the broadcast landscape with the launch of its English service in 2006--or will it be essentially an exercise in propaganda?

Political violence in Senegal from Committee to Protect Journalists on Vimeo.

Last week's unexpected coup d'etat in Mali somewhat overshadowed, in the international news cycle, a relatively peaceful transition of power in the neighboring democracy of Senegal. In a second-round vote, opposition leader Macky Sall on Sunday defeated his former mentor, 85-year-old incumbent President Abdoulaye Wade; and while European Union observers deplored some irregularities, they largely praised the election and the Senegalese news media for a "positive role" in informing voters. 

Lalla Cissokho (Courtesy of Cissokho)

Last week, a judge in Senegal convicted a man of assaulting three journalists outside their newspaper's office in the capital Dakar last month. The attack was not related to journalism, but the quick arrest and prosecution of the perpetrator serves as an instructive contrast between the handling of an ordinary crime and the handling of abuses against journalists in the line of duty - cases which are usually politicized, stalled, or both.

Reporter Bocar Dieng said an attack by a local leader loyal to President Wade left him with this swollen eye. (Bocar Dieng)

New York, February 29, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists called on Senegalese authorities today to thoroughly investigate recent attacks on the media and ensure that the press is able to report freely on the country's presidential election results and potential run-off. CPJ has documented at least 12 incidents of threats and physical harm against journalists reporting on the campaign, Sunday's vote, and its aftermath. Most of the incidents involved security officials or ruling party members.

New York, January 20, 2012--Two Senegalese journalists with the private daily Le Quotidien were handed suspended prison sentences this week in a criminal libel case over their coverage of an armed insurgency in a separatist province, according to news reports. 

RTS journalists protest on July 21. (Sud)

The Senegalese state-controlled radio and TV Corporation, Radio Télévision Sénégalaise (RTS), is experiencing an internal struggle for editorial freedom as Senegal moves toward a presidential election on February 26, 2012. 

President Wade protected a protege accused of orchestrating anti-press attacks. (AFP/Filippo Montegorte)
Senegalese journalists say justice is not on their side when they are victims of abuse by powerful officials or security forces. I met recently in Dakar with journalists targeted with criminal acts in apparent reprisal for their work. In these two high-profile cases, CPJ has found evidence of political influence on the judiciary.

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Africa

Program Coordinator:
Sue Valentine

Advocacy Coordinator:
Mohamed Keita

East Africa Consultant:
Tom Rhodes

West Africa Consultant:
Peter Nkanga

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mkeita@cpj.org
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