Like every 3 May, all over the world, the International Press Freedom Day was celebrated in Senegal on Monday.
But unlike in previous years, journalists organised a huge rally in front of the ministry of communication. They held a sit-in to demand more respect for their profession.
Secretary General of the Union of information and communication Ahmadou Bamba Kasse said “it was to look each other in the eye and convince ourselves once again that we journalists, we members of the media, know how to mobilise”.
“The second message, is a general way, to claim our freedom with a capital L. That is freedom of expression, freedom of the press, freedom to inform. These are the three freedoms that we had to claim today by hammering it home.” Kasse added.
Media rights group in the country accuse the government of clamping down on the press. In February, journalists in the country claimed to have faced new levels of intimidation and harrassment particularly as they covered the protests and unrest following the arrest of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko.
“What matters to us is the application of the collective agreement of the media sector. Why? Because this application of the collective agreement will allow young reporters to have better working conditions, decent salaries but also to benefit from contributions press freedom” says Amadou Sabar Ba, from the Youth Reporters Convention.
Africanews correspondent In Senegal Wahany Sambo reports that “the Senegalese press has probably never been in such danger. In addition to its precariousness, it has to deal with all kinds of abuses. In recent years, violence and violations against the principle of freedom of expression have multiplied in the country. Press companies have been the target of attacks, journalists and cameramen have been violated, and television channels have even had their signals cut off”
“And it is to say stop, that Senegalese journalists have mobilised here, in front of the Ministry of Communication on this International Press Freedom Day. A gathering they hope will change their situation”. SAMBOU added.