Senegal: Walf TV channel suspended for one month
In Senegal, Walf TV is suspended for 30 days, until 1 July. The Ministry of Communication accuses the channel of having covered the clashes between demonstrators and security forces after the sentencing of the opponent Ousmane Sonko to two years in prison for corruption of youth. The channel's management and journalists' organizations are worried.
(Illustration) It is for having covered the clashes between police and demonstrators that the Walf TV channel was suspended. Here, students and supporters of Senegalese opposition leader Ousmane Sonko clash with security forces on June 1, 2023. REUTERS - ZOHRA BENSEMRA
Text by: RFI Follow
With our correspondent in Dakar, Juliette Dubois
The broadcast had been suspended since Thursday, June 1, but according to the channel, the notification arrived only 8 days later. The Wal Fadjri group announced that a large part of its employees would be laid off: "It is, it is a big damage in terms of finances because Wal Fadjri, before being a press group, is a company in short, with fixed salaries," warns Moustapha Diop, director of Walf TV.
It is a decision of the Ministry of Communication which denounces "the dissemination of images of violence exposing minors, accompanied by subversive and hateful remarks undermining the stability of the State" that led to the suspension. On 1 June, the channel covered clashes between protesters and security forces after opposition leader Ousmane Sonko was sentenced to two years in prison for "corruption of youth". In any case, this suspension raises fears for press freedom in the country: "In all countries of the world, at least in all democracies of the world, when there are events, journalists, they show these events, they make comments," he adds.
Internet users quickly set up an online fundraiser on the Wave money sending platform to support Walf TV. But on Saturday morning, June 10, Wave will announce that the state had asked it to suspend payments to Wal Fadjri. The channel was already suspended for 7 days in February and its columnist Pape Ndiaye has been under arrest warrant since March for spreading false news, among other things.
This new suspension is difficult to understand for Ibrahima Lissa Faye, of the coordination of press associations: "An injunction could have sufficed, or even a call to order, it proves again the relentlessness against this press group and it is a real desire to kill this press group. And what is certain is that other media will follow, like other journalists, who will go to jail."
We can no longer talk about the rule of law
Ibrahima Lissa Faye of the Coordination of Press Associations
The group plans to launch legal proceedings and demonstrations of support.
— Ibrahima Lissa FAYE (@fayiboul) June 10, 2023
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