Senegal, sitting on the most Western point of the African continent, gained independence from France in 1960. The West African country is bordered by Mali, Mauritania, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau with Dakar, as the country’s capital.
The country’s economy is largely based on the export of groundnuts and fish, while remittances from overseas-based citizens make up a large proportion of the economy as well. The population is made up of 94 per cent Muslims, with French as the official language.
Despite high levels of unemployment and poverty, Senegal has, by and large, been considered one of the more stable post-colonial democracies on the continent. The only country in West Africa not to have endured a coup or a civil war since independence.
Overview of media and FoE environment
Senegalese media has evolved from a state monopoly on both broadcast and print media to a situation of media plurality, but there are still laws in the constitution which does not allow free expression and media freedom.
The media faces some challenges in the areas of heavy operating costs, harsh fiscal environment with multiple taxes. All these things hamper the development of the sector. However, the even bigger challenges are training and building capacity.
Media regulatory bodies in Senegal include the Committee for the Observance of the Professional Code of Ethics (CORED)-to put in place a self regulatory body free from the flaws of council for the observance of the professional code of ethics. There is the Council of Publishers and Broadcasters (CDEPS), which brought together the broadcast, print and online media.
The Union of Information and Communication Professionals(SYNPICSs),the Convention of Young Reporters of Senegal(CJRS),Committee for the Defense and Protection of Journalists(CDPJ),National Broadcasting Regulatory Council(CRNA).
Legal Framework For Media Operation
Numerous laws were enacted and these were inspired by the French law of 1881.
Article 8 of the 2001 constitution-protecting freedom of expression and the press, and Article 10 guarantees the right to express opinions freely.
Law No 79-44 of 11 April, 1979 on press organs and the journalistic profession.
Decree no 61/154 of 13 April, 1961 on the delegation of powers to the Ministry of Information, Radio Broadcasting and the Press.
Decree no 69/579 of 13 May, 1969 on the control of foreign political propaganda materials.
Law of 10th August 1977-Penal code including Article 80, which criminalizes, prosecutes, fine, and incarcerates journalists.
MFWA’S work on Senegal
The MFWA monitors Senegal, following the trends on the media landscape on its development, growth and work. MFWAs work has contributed to the press freedom and free expression in Senegal today.
MFWAs future engagements in the country will focus on media development for participatory and accountable governance; and digital/rights advocacy to enhance online freedom and democratic consolidation.