Authorities in Senegal must apprehend and punish culprits behind the vandalism on properties belonging to Le Echos newspaper.
Report says a group of religious fanatics attacked the media outlet on August 3, following the newspaper’s publication that an influential religious leader – Serigne Moustapha Sy had tested positive for COVID-19 and was on admission at Dakar’s main hospital – the country’s capital.
The thugs who identified themselves as followers of the said religious leader – Serigne Moustapha; smashed the window screens, television and computers belonging to the media organization.
“Six computers were broken, plus the flat screen TV in my office, my equipment and that of the editor were broken. On their arrival, they introduced themselves as disciples of Serigne Moustapha” said Mbaye Thandioum – the editor-in-chief to Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA).
Thiandioum said this is a threat to the Senegalese press “if this act goes unpunished, anyone who might feel defamed could attack a journalist in any way” he said.
A senior journalist of the organization – Sidy Djimby Ndao said despite the challenge, they have continued publications as the staff have been forced to make use of their smartphones as alternatives due to the attack which damaged their computers, “the newspaper continues to be published but with but with extreme difficulty, he said.
Senegal is known to enjoy a commendable level of press freedom, as the country ranks 47 in the Reporters Without Borders (RSF) annual press freedom index.
Africa Media Development Foundation (AMDF) condemns this dastardly act and demands that authorities investigate and fish out perpetrators, and they should be made to face the full weight of the law, this will serve as a deterrent to future possible offenders.