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Senegal24 October 2003

French journalist ordered out of the country

Reporters Without Borders protested today against a deportation order against Sophie Malibeaux, correspondent for Radio France International (RFI) in Dakar, who has been told to leave Senegal for allegedly "biased" coverage of the situation in the Casamance region, where a separatist rebellion has been smouldering for the past 20 years.

"We are surprised at this step by the Senegalese government, which has had an exemplary attitude to press freedom for several years, but the situation is now starting to deteriorate alarmingly," said secretary-general Robert Ménard in a letter to President Abdoulaye Wade. "We urge you to cancel the expulsion order and allow Malibeaux to do her job freely."

Malibeaux was arrested in the Casamance town of Ziguinchor on 7 October and flown to Dakar, where the interior ministry told her she would be deported. She was then freed when she went to the airport. But the deportation order was not cancelled.

Several local journalists’ organisations expressed support for her on 12 October and denounced what they called the "escalation of attacks on press freedom" in Senegal.



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