IWMF Statement on Police Attacks on Senegalese Journalists

The International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) demands Senegalese police protect journalists covering election protests in Dakar and respect the international public’s right to information.

During February 9 protests against the postponement of Senegal’s elections, police attacked at least 20 journalists, including physical assault, detention, and tear gassing. Absa Hane, a journalist with independent news site Seneweb, was violently assaulted and lost consciousness; she was then detained for 30 minutes in a police vehicle. Other journalists, including Isabelle Bampoky and Ngoné Diop, were targeted with canisters of tear gas while capturing the protests.

We call for a thorough investigation into these attacks to hold the responsible parties accountable. As the country’s elections approach, we urge Senegal’s police to respect independent journalism and the right to report on politics and protest.

These incursions against the press are taking place within a super-election year, in which more than 40% of the world’s population can cast votes at the national level. Press freedom is vital to a functioning democracy; reporters around the world must be able to cover these elections safely and accurately without fear of retribution.