- Macky Sall, the Senegalese Prime Minister laid the foundation stone of a multi-million dollar press house for the country’s media fraternity.
The six-storey building project equipped with the latest technological devices is expected to complete in 18 months time. It cost the Senegalese government CFA 5 billions to erect the edifice. It will be erected in the former city of police in the capital, Dakar.
Senegal is among few African countries that give yearly subvention to their media. Since he came to power in 2000, President Wade has twice increased the annual press subvention from CFA 100, 200 and now 400 millions.
The Senegalese Prime Minister viewed the project as booster for press freedom in one of Africa’s biggest democracies. He said it has proven President Wade’s commitment to developing freedom of the press and expression in the country.
Mr Sall admitted the existence of sporadic frictions between the government and media. He however said a strong press is needed to stimulate democracy in the country. “This is why we want the press to enjoy freedom so that along the way, people become educated,” he said.
He believed the edifice will serve as an important venue for fruitful exchange of knowledge and experience among journalists and communication experts in Africa as a whole.
During his opposition days, President Wade had set up some political publications in Senegal. The papers included Le Democrate, Le Citoyen, Takussan and Sopi, which was created in 1988. However, all these papers have now gone into extinction.
Dr Bacar Dia, the Minister of Information said the structure will no doubt turn “our press more modern, free and independent.”
The Chairman of Walfadjri Group, Sidy Lamine Niasse, who spoke on behalf of the journalism fraternity, commended President Wade for the magnificent project. He also dispelled the widely believed notion that the media has reduced itself as opposition mouthpiece. “That’s not the case,” Mr Niasse said.
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