Reporters Without Borders today condemned two separate cases of threats against Senegalese journalists in the past two weeks. The targets were freelance reporter Dié Maty Fall, who works for the privately-owned newspapers Sud Quotidien, Le Populaire and L’As and the websites Rewmi.com and Nettali.net, and Pape Alé Niang, who presents the press review on privately-owned radio Sud FM.
“Threats against journalists are always dangerous, regardless of their position, because journalists are often the first to fall victim to political hatred,” the press freedom organisation said. “We call on the police to investigate these cases thoroughly in order to deter those who attack the media, to defuse tension and to calm people down in the runup to the elections.”
Fall told Reporters Without Borders that her mother received three anonymous calls on 25 November. The first caller, a woman, asked if “your daughter is at home.” A subsequent caller said: “Tell your daughter to calm down, to stop poking her nose everywhere and to mind her own business (...) otherwise something terrible will happen to her.”
Both Fall and her mother filed complaints “against persons unknown” at Dakar police headquarters.
The former head of political coverage at the state-owned daily Le Soleil, Fall condemned “threats and insults against independent journalists.” Deploring the seriousness of some of the insults, especially racial ones, she said: “I have never been afraid of threats, but it worries me when they affect my family.” She added that government members had tried to bribe her several times in the course of her career.
Niang said he was threatened by justice minister Cheikh Tidiane Sy at a meeting of the ruling Senegalese Democratic Party (PDS) on 22 November that was attended by the president. He said Sy had called for him to be “given a hiding” because of his “disrespectful” press review.