The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) welcomes the release of journalists Pape Ndiaye of Walf Tv and Serigne Saliou Guèye, Director of Publication of the daily Yoor-Yoor, by the Senegalese courts.
Ndiaye and Guèye left prison on June 21, 2023, a day after Judge Mamadou Seck granted their release. However, the two journalists remain under judicial supervision and must not disclose any information about their imprisonment.
Serigne Saliou Guèye, who was arrested on May 23, 2023, was charged with contempt of court and imposture as a journalist. He was accused of practicing without a press card, which is illegal. This is in spite of the fact that he has been trained on the job and has been practising for about 20 years.
Guèye was arrested following the publication of an article titled “Dear fellow judges, let’s get our act together” written under the pseudonym “Magistrat”. In the piece, an anonymous judge raised concerns about the “dysfunction of the justice system and the treatment meted out to Ousmane Sonko”.
Pape Ndiaye was charged with disseminating false news and contempt of court after he made comments during a programme on Walf TV. The journalist allegedly questioned the independence of the Senegalese judiciary in the Sonko case. He was summoned and taken into police custody on March 3, 2023.
In its press statement announcing the release of Pape Ndiaye and Serigne Saliou Guèye, the press union, Coordination des Associations de Press (Cap), which was at the forefront of mediation with government authorities, reminded media professionals of “the need to uphold the core principles of journalism, particularly, objectivity and responsibility.”
The Cap published a joint editorial on June 17, 2023, to protest against the arrests of the journalists by the Senegalese government. However, following their release, the group has decided to postpone the Media General meeting and the media black-out day that was scheduled for June 21, 2023, and June 24, 2023, respectively.
The MFWA welcomes the release of the journalists who should not have been arrested in the first place. We also congratulate the CAP for its commitment to standing by its journalists who are victims of the intolerance of the authorities, who are increasingly hypersensitive to criticism.