- The Senegalese government has renewed its commitment to subsidise its private media. Knowing the significant role of media in informing and educating society, the Senegalese government sponsored the private media with a whooping sum of CFA 400 million (approximately US$ 1 million) - an exception in Africa.
Apart from waiving certain media taxes, the Senegalese government has been subsidising its private publications since 1990.
"The lifeline is meant to fortify our media so that it can continue to enlighten our citizens on the values of democracy and good governance," the Senegalese Minister of Information, Boubacar Dia, explained.
Mr Dia expressed the Senegalese government's readiness to provide a conductive media environment in the country. "We will continue to assist the private media as a way of sustaining media professionals to exercise their noble duty," Minister Dia said.
He also added that he would continue to foster not only cordial relations with the media but also collaboration, which according to him would facilitate free access to information for the Senegalese public.
Following the professional treatment of his alleged death by the media while on holiday in France last year, President Wade is said to have become confident in his country's private media. He pledged to provide a fully furnished headquarters for the Senegalese Press Union.
Minister Dia disclosed that the government would also help in the smoothing running of the press union's headquarters.
Senegal is one of the few countries in Africa that pays out subsidies to its private media. In fact, most of the African states levy huge taxes as well as legislate laws to send the private media into the doldrums.
While Senegal generally enjoys ample press freedom and private media can count on some financial support, state media are nevertheless positively discriminated. Among newspapers, for example, state-owned and pro-government 'Le Soleil' remains the country's dominant daily.
'Le Soleil' also counts on state subsidies, which has enabled it to invest in superior production facilities and therefore superior quality. Further, the daily has secures a much larger part of government ads and ads from companies that want to maintain a good relationship with authorities. The state newspaper further has a close to monopoly on publicity by state institutions, which constitutes the nation's largest advertisement market.
In contrast, private Senegalese dailies mostly live of direct newspaper sales - a copy costing only around CFA 200 (US$ 0.35). Contrasting 'Le Soleil' and almost all African newspapers - widely living from advertisement - Senegalese dailies are widely ad-free zones.
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