Jailed Senegalese journalist crosses 100-day milestone behind bars

Senegalese journalist Pape Ndiaye has crossed the grim milestone of 100 days in detention. The journalists hit the 100th day in prison on June 11, 2023.

Ndiaye, a legal columnist for Walf TV, was arrested on March 3, 2023, following comments he made about the alleged rape case involving opposition leader Ousmane Sonko and a certain Adji Sarr, the complainant in the rape case.

The journalist is facing multiple counts, including dissemination of false news, provoking an assembly, contempt of court, endangering the lives of others, discrediting a judicial act, intimidation and reprisals against a member of the judiciary. The charges relate to his allegations during a broadcast on Walf TV that all 19 deputy prosecutors in Dakar were in favour of dismissing the case against Sonko. He also said that the head of the prosecution disapproved of the opinions of the deputies, insisting that it was the wish of President Macky Sall to have the case continue under criminal procedure.

A Dakar court ruled on March 6 that the journalist’s allegations were false and ordered him to be remanded, amidst protest from the media fraternity in Senegal.

June 16, 2023, marked exactly 105 days since Ndiaye was detained. To mark the day, the Coordination des Associations de Presse (CAP), the umbrella press association, held a press conference at the Maison de la presse Babacar TOURÉ to demand the journalist’s release.

The group also called on the authorities to restore Walf TV’s signal which was cut on June 1, 2023, in the continuing crackdown on critical publications on the Sonko case.

The plight of Pape Ndiaye is strikingly similar to that of his colleague Pape Alé Niang, managing editor of Dakar Matin. Niang was arrested on November 6, 2022, for spreading false news and undermining national security after publishing an article in which he quoted military sources. The journalist referred to a document stating that a military investigation had cleared the influential politician of the rape allegations.

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is concerned about the siege on freedom of expression in Senegal and reiterates its strong condemnation of the arbitrary arrest and detention of Pape Ndiaye. We urge the authorities to release the journalist.

Share this story!

Related Stories