See also:
» 25.02.2009 - Appeal court upholds editor’s sentence
» 04.12.2008 - Bail application for Senegalese editor rejected
» 15.09.2008 - Publisher jailed for 3 years
» 03.09.2008 - Police arrest 9 suspects for newspaper raids
» 29.08.2008 - Senegal's anti-press minister fired
» 18.08.2008 - Newspapers ransacked in Senegal
» 26.05.2008 - Another Senegalese journalist slapped with libel
» 16.05.2008 - Senegal journalists' conviction condemned

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Senegalese Press Union cries foul

afrol News, 18 October - After examining the media situation of their country, the National Trade Union of Professionals of Information and Communication of Senegal (SYNPICS) on Wednesday issued a statement, damning the persistent harassment and intimidation levelled against local journalists during the execution of their duties.

SYNPICs noted what it called "regular harassment meted out to Senegalese journalists," the latest victims being Assane Guèye of the group Futur Media and Léopold Tamba of the Walfadjri Group.

It also damned the Senegalese police for harassing Sheik Yerim Seck of a weekly magazine. "We are also concerned about the anonymous threats some of our journalists continue to receive," the statement said.

While urging the government of Senegal to respect the press as an important pillar of democracy and good governance, SYNPICS also called on the Minister of Justice to ensure the protection of journalists in the due executive of their duties.

Senegal, which is seen as the bastion of democracy in West Africa, has over the years guaranteed freedom of press and expression. But according to observers, the trend has taken a u-turn since President Abdoulaye Wade came to power, as journalists and politicians that are critical to his government's policies have been arrested and detained.

Madiambal Diagne, the managing director of the popular Senegalese daily 'Le Quotidien', was in 2004 arrested for disclosing state secrets. His arrest spurred waves of protests in Senegal and most parts of West Africa. Another veteran journalist-cum-author, Latif Coulibaly was also detained for several days. "I fear prison because the place is too hot," Mr Coulibaly once told a forum.

It was alleged that his manuscripts were stolen from his computer before he had published. A collapse of freedom of press and speech in Senegal spells doom for West African media, media organisations fear. Senegal's press freedom and stability has attracted a lot of international press institutions, including Associated Press, Voice of America, Pan Africa News Agency and west Africa Journalist Association.

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