Faced with an outcry over the imprisonment in 2004 of journalist Madiambal Diagne, President Abdoulaye Wade promised to reform the press law. Senegalese journalists are still waiting and the situation has not improved. Quite the contrary.
Early on the morning of 17 October 2005, a police commando raided and closed Sud FM radio in Dakar and arrested everyone present in its offices and studios. The radio’s correspondents were arrested in Ziguinchor in the south and at Saint-Louis in the north. All the relay stations were taken off air. What “crime” had Sud FM committed? It had broadcast an interview it carried out with a leader of a rebel group active in Casamance.
The case of Idrissa Seck, former prime minister who was ousted, taken to court and thrown in prison for alleged financial misdeeds, also contributed to the deteriorating climate between the press and the government. Some investigative journalists with contacts in the case were summoned, questioned and threatened. In these circumstances, the independent press which had thoroughly applauded the changeover of political power when President Wade took office in 2000, became more and more wary or to put it another way more and more critical.