The state of health of the Senegalese investigative journalist Pape Alé Niang is “very worrying”, alert his lawyers. On hunger strike following his new incarceration on December 20, 2022, he was hospitalized four days later and has since refused any medical treatment. Despite the deterioration of his state of health, the prosecutor rejected, on Tuesday, January 3, his request for provisional release. Very worried, the profession and human rights defenders are mobilizing to demand his immediate release.
Known for his criticism of the government, the director of the private news site Dakar Matin was imprisoned for the first time on November 9, 2022. On the grounds of being at the origin of the publication of the security system planned during the hearing of Ousmane Sonko, the main political opponent of President Macky Sall, charged with rape and death threats.
“Spreading fake news”
The journalist is notably prosecuted for “disclosure of information likely to harm national defence” and “concealment of administrative and military documents”. “Everyone was already aware of this document”, retorts Mamadou Thior, president of the Council for the observation of the rules of ethics and deontology in the media.
Following a strong mobilization, the journalist was released a few days later. A simple respite: the prosecution judging that he did not respect the terms of his judicial review by communicating on the case, here he is again imprisoned. He faces a five-year prison sentence.
“Break the journalists”
For many observers, it is a question of muzzling a journalist who disturbs. “It is anachronistic to see a journalist in prison in a country like Senegal, one of the most stable democracies in Africa, endowed with a plural and abundant media landscape”, reacts Sadibou Marong, from Reporters Without Borders.
Macky Sall had set himself up as an ardent defender of freedom of the press, swearing that “never would a journalist (would) be imprisoned for a press offence” during his presidency. Senegal, located at 73e rank out of 180 in the RSF press freedom ranking, has lost 24 places compared to 2021.
“The case of Pape Alé Niang illustrates the feeling of muzzling and intimidation of journalists in the country. Some are afraid and censor themselves so as not to deal with angry subjects.underlines Ibrahima Lissa Faye, president of the Association of the professionals of the press on line and director of the site Pressafrik.com. “With the presidential election due in February 2024, the tension will increase because the government wants to break journalists and reduce freedoms. »
Source : BBN WORLD NEWS