OCTOBER 24, 2003
Posted: November 14, 2003
Sophie Malibeaux, Radio France Internationale (RFI)
RFI correspondent Malibeaux was forced to leave the country following
an expulsion order dated October 6. She was accused of threatening national
security after RFI broadcast her interview with a hard-line member of
a rebel group from Casamance, a region in southern Senegal. Talks between
RFI management and Senegalese authorities in the capital, Dakar, failed
to get the expulsion order lifted.
Security agents detained Malibeaux on October 7 in Ziguinchor, Casamance's
capital, and flew her under military escort to Dakar, where she was served
with an expulsion order and told to leave the country immediately. Malibeaux
had been in Ziguinchor covering a congress of rebel groups aimed at preparing
peace talks with the government. Before the gathering started, RFI had
aired Malibeaux's interview with Alexandre Djiba, a member of a rebel
movement that had boycotted the meeting.
The expulsion order brought protests from journalists' organizations and
from RFI, which managed to obtain a suspension pending further discussions.
RFI said one of its top directors went to Dakar from October 20 to 22
"to convince the Senegalese authorities to reverse their decision to expel
Sophie Malibeaux," but that the talks had failed. Malibeaux left Senegal
on October 24. RFI said it reaffirmed its confidence in Malibeaux and
deplored the expulsion order.