Abdoulaye Wade

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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. 

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.

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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