Senegal is a Francophone country in West Africa. It owes its name to the Sénégal River, which borders it to the east and north. Senegal is described as one of Africa’s model democracies in Africa given its tradition of stable governments and civilian rule. In 2009, however, Freedom House downgraded Senegal’s status from ‘Free’ to ‘Partially Free’, following increased centralisation of power by the executive. However, it recovered its free status in 2014.
At – a – glance
Official Language: French
President: Macky Sall
Population: 13.1 million (UN, 2012)
National Anthem: Pincez Tous vous Koras, Frappez les Balafons
The Media & Freedom of Expression Landscape in Senegal
The Senegalese constitution guarantees the freedom of speech and expression. The country boasts of a number of independent media outlets in addition to one state television channel and a number of radio stations and newspapers that are controlled by or affiliated to the State. Several privately owned newspapers have also existed for decades and are widely read. A report also indicates that access to the internet is not restricted.
In an attempt to maintain decorum in terms of speech, there are blasphemy, security, and criminal defamation laws, but these are generally not used to silence independent voices. There were, however, two notable exceptions in 2014. In June, Malal Talla, a popular rapper and a leader of the Y’en a Marre (Enough is Enough) civic movement, was detained briefly for publicly denouncing corruption within the police force. He was accused of disturbing public order but released without charge within a week. In August, authorities arrested Samuel Sarr, who served as Energy Minister in the Wade administration, and charged him with libel against President Sall under Article 80 of the criminal code. Sarr had posted a bank account number purported to be Sall’s on a social media platform and accused the president of corruption.
For more information on the status of FoE in Senegal, visit: Freedom House
Media Regulatory Bodies in Senegal
There are a number of media regulatory bodies in Senegal. They include: Comité d’Observation des Règles d’Ethique et de Déontologie (CORED)- a self-regulatory body that ensures compliance with the conditions for access and practice of journalism as well as the observance of professional media ethics. The Conseil des diffuseurs et des éditeurs de presse du Sénégal (CDEPS), brings together the broadcast, print and online media.
The syndicat des professionnels de l’Information et de la Communication du Sénégal(SYNPICSs), Convention de jeunes reporters du Sénégal, Comité pour la défense et la protection des journalistes (CDPJ) et le Conseil réglementaire national d’audiovisuel (CRNA) are also media associations or bodies in Senegal.