- Senegalese authorities have been asked to make sure that journalists cover the upcoming presidential elections safely and freely. In the recent weeks, there has been several reported attacks, harassment and death threats meted out to journalists in a country that otherwise provides good working conditions for the independent press.
"With less than two months until the presidential elections planned for 25 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 International Federation of Journalists' (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," Mr Baglo added.
In the latest attack, Dié Maty Fall, a freelance journalist and columnist at private newspaper 'Sud Quotidien', was attacked on Wednesday, 27 December, by a woman alleging the journalist was using her post to attack the regime in power. Ms 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 1 December after Ms Fall and other journalists received death threats. Pape Alé Niang, a radio reporter 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'.
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