Senegal | Freedom House

Freedom of the Press

Senegal

Senegal

Freedom of the Press 2004

2004 Scores

Press Status

Partly Free

Press Freedom Score
(0 = best, 100 = worst)

37

Political Environment
(0 = best, 40 = worst)

16

Economic Environment
(0 = best, 30 = worst)

9

Despite constitutional provisions for freedom of expression and the press, observers expressed concern that the government of President Abdoulaye Wade increasingly felt the need to restrict these rights in 2003. Press laws that prohibit "discrediting the state" and disseminating "false news" are sometimes used to prosecute journalists. While the threat of legal penalties has resulted in some self-censorship, the independent print press and several dozen private radio stations are often highly critical of the government and political parties. Nevertheless, the only local television station is controlled by the state, and coverage favors the ruling party; in July, the High Audiovisual Commission, a media watchdog, criticized this station for not broadcasting news that might embarrass the government. Access to foreign publications and broadcasts and to the Internet is unrestricted. Reporters who cover sensitive topics sometimes face harassment at the hands of the authorities. Early in the year, several cases were reported of journalists' being assaulted by police as they attempted to cover the news. In August, Abdou Latif Coulibaly, director of the independent Sud FM radio station and the author of a book critical of President Wade, said he had been receiving anonymous death threats, which he blamed on members of the ruling party. Authorities expelled the correspondent for Radio France Internationale (RFI) in October after RFI aired an interview that the reporter conducted with a hardline member of the separatist Movement of the Democratic Forces of Casamance (MFDC). Senegal's interior ministry accused the reporter of trying to sabotage the peace process that is aimed at ending the two-decade-old conflict