- Senegalese Minister for Transport, Farba Senghor, has got an axe to grind with journalists with the private daily Walf Grand-Place after the paper ran a story accusing him lying about his educational degree.
Mr Senghor, who hauled insults over a newsroom speakerphone on Tuesday, threatening “to beau” up the paper’s reporter, Pape Sambaré, calling up “a bastard” was never aware that his threats were being recorded.
According to Walf Grand-Place Director, Jean Meïssa Diop, journalists listened to the minister’s tirades on a speakerphone and recorded him.
When it became clear to him that he was being recorded, the embittered minister fired more threats at Mr Diop.
“I’m going to destroy both of you [your journalist and you],” Mr Senghor exploded.
The minister was angered by the paper’s Tuesday’s caption, “Wade’s strange ministers: two ex-model ministers.“ The article exposed how Senghor had lied about having a diploma from a management institute in Italy.
Senghor’s reaction in a letter to the editor was published the following day.
Walf Grand-Place is published by Wal Fadjri media group. Its officials have vowed to file a case against Senghor for hauling violent threats against them. Charges will result after the recording was handed over to the Senegalese press union, Mr Diop assured.
The Executive Director of the Committee to Protect Journalists, Joel Simon, reacted swiftly to the minister‘s diatribes. “It’s simply not appropriate for a government minister to threaten reporters,” he said, asking President Wade to demand an explanation for his minister‘s professional misconduct and take the necessary action.
This is the second time a ruling party official has invoked invectives on journalists in Senegal this year. In April, another ruling party official in Central Senegal, Moustapha Cissé Lô, stomped the offices of Radio Disso, to threaten the staff on duty, accusing them of unfair coverage against Mr Lô.
Mr. Lô reportedly threatens the entire staff of the station with death any time his name was mentioned on Radio Disso. He also threatened to send thugs to loot the station.
In protest against his unfriendly media threats, Senegalese journalist’s union asked the media to boycott coverage of Mr. Lô’s political campaigns.
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