Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Press freedom tour: Senegal, Niger

It’s been a somewhat quiet on the press front of West Africa this week. Unless, of course, you are Pape Amadou Gaye, a Senegalese journalist who was arrested for allegedly inciting the army into action against the country’s food crisis amid soaring prices.

In an article in Le Courrier du Jour, where Gaye is publishing director, he claimed that only the army could force the government to fix what it has done, alluding to the soaring food and fuel prices that have rocked Senegal in the past few weeks.

A government spokesman told Agence France Press that Mr. Gaye "has been charged and kept in custody for offending the head of state, acting in a way that risks the security of the state and acting in a manner aimed at inciting disobedience in the army."

Gaye’s November 1 apprehension marks the third arrest for journalists in Senegal over the past month. Moussa Guéye, editor of L’Exclusif, was arrested October 8 and charged with insulting the President Abdoulaye Wade. Shortly afterward, a reporter for L’Exclusif, Pape Moussa Doukar, was also arrested.

In good news, Daouda Yacouba, a correspondent for the Agadez, Niger-based Air Info, was released from prison after six days at police headquarters. He was originally arrested October 25 and questioned regarding articles involving the Niger government’s handling of the rebel Tuareg rebel group Niger People’s Movement for Justice.

However, Air Info’s editor, Ibrahim Manzo Diallo, was charged with “criminal association” and placed in pre-trial detention in Agadez prison.

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