Journalist face death threats over critiques of Senegalese President

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) strongly condemns the threats issued against journalist Babacar Fall and calls on the Senegalese authorities to investigate them and prosecute the perpetrators.

On January 10, 2024, Babacar Fall, Editor-in-chief of the radio station RFM, received a flood of messages and calls from unknown individuals threatening his life.

“You’d better stop these comments. Otherwise, we will kill you,” a voice note sent to Fall and reviewed by the MFWA threatened. Another message read “this message is not a warning. I’ll take you out when I see you.”

Fall is reported to have received not less than 120 of such messages from unknown individuals, some of which were insults, while others were threats in which the perpetrators promised to make attempts on the journalist’s life.

The journalist’s ordeal started a few minutes after he criticized, live on RFM, President Macky Sall’s opening speech at the 50th Edition of the International Francophone Press Union conference held on January 9, 2024. In his speech, President Macky Sall stated that “In Senegal there’s a kind of press review. Someone takes the headlines from the newspapers and dramatises them. In the end, that review alone becomes the event and the news […] then there are no facts. And public opinion is attacked all day long.”

Fall, in his broadcast, defended the media whose image, he deemed, had been tarnished at such an important international gathering. The journalist equally described President Macky Sall’s governance as “catastrophic.”

The threats to his life and the insults led the journalist lodging a complaint. However, there have not been any positive developments since then.

The Coordination des associations de Presse (CAP), a media coalition,  expressed its full support and solidarity with Babacar Fall. The CAP equally urged the authorities to guarantee Fall’s safety and to open an investigation as soon as possible in order to identify and bring to justice the perpetrators of these unjustified threats.

The Media Foundation for West Africa is extremely concerned about the safety of Babacar Fall. We call on the political parties and their partisans to respect the freedom of expression of divergent voices.

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