IFJ Calls on Senegalese Government to Ensure Journalist Safety, Press Freedom in Upcoming Presidential Elections

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on the government of Senegal to make sure that journalists are able to cover the upcoming presidential election safely and freely after recent attacks, harassment and death threats against journalists before voters go to the polls.

“With less than two months until the presidential elections planned for the end of February in Senegal, we invite the government to calm the atmosphere by making sure that journalists can work in total safety and freedom,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa Office. “We await concrete actions like serious investigations into the barbarian aggression against journalist Dié Maty Fall and death threats sent to many other journalists. We are also calling for security forces to treat journalists better before, during and after the elections.”

In the latest attack, Dié Maty Fall, a freelance journalist and columnist at private newspaper Sud Quotidien, was attacked on Wednesday, December 27, by a woman alleging the journalist was using her post to attack the regime in power. Fall was struck down in the ensuing scuffle and bitten on the neck.

The National Union of Information and Communication Professionals of Senegal (SYNPICS) protested on December 1 after Fall and other journalists received death threats. Pape Alé Niang, a radio report with Sud Fm, and Alioune Tine, Executive Secretary of human rights organisation RADDHO, also received threats in connection with their standpoint on political news coverage in the country.

The IFJ is supporting SYNPICS campaign launched on 22 December to end threats against and intimidation of the journalists and is encouraging Senegalese journalists to take part in it.

In October, journalists Assane Guèye of Futurs Media and Léopold Tamba of the media group Walfadjri were arrested in their newsrooms by government agents from the Bureau of Criminal Investigations (DIC). SYNPICS protested these arrests and also denounced “the inopportune police harassment” of Cheikh Yérim Seck of the weekly magazine Jeune Afrique.

For further information contact the IFJ: +221 842 01 43

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries