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Reuters: New anti-media drive in Senegal

In the wake of the controversial appearance of President Abdoulaye Wade of Senegal at a journalists’ conference here last week, his ruling party has called for an anti-media campaign, Reuters reports.

Farba Senghor, air transport minister and propaganda chief for Wade’s Democratic Party, called for party supporters to cancel subscriptions and boycott independent newspapers, for government ministers to use their influence to block advertising, and for tax collectors to inspect the books of media outlets.

Meanwhile Voice of America reports:

“In Dakar, members of the local media expressed concern that appearances like this one in Chicago, during which Mr. Wade spoke about freedom of the press among other issues, divert attention away from a crackdown on press freedom in Senegal.

“Alassane Samba Diop, News Director for RFM radio in Dakar says while Mr. Wade travels abroad to speak on freedom of the press, his record on the issue in his own country needs improvement.

“Diop says there has been a regression in press freedom during Mr. Wade’s presidency, which began in 2000. He says Mr. Wade has set up his own state-run radio and newspaper, content for which is created by state information agencies, and not real journalists.

 “Mr. Wade spoke in Chicago in an address to the UNITY ’08 Conference, a gathering bringing together minority journalists. The president’s appearance was marred by an incident in which a man identified as an exiled Senegalese journalist interrupted his address.

“Diop says opponents who spoke out against Wade at the conference were attacked by Mr. Wade’s supporters, and then carried away by police.

“Diop says the president’s contempt for the press is evident in that he takes only government employed press along with him on trips.”

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Category: human rights, international, journalism, media

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