Reporters Without Borders began a five-day visit to Senegal yesterday with the aim of monitoring the level of freedom of information and the media’s behaviour during the campaign for the first round of the presidential election on 26 February. A “Mission Diary” will be available during the visit at this Internet address : http://journalmission.rsf.org
The visit is being conducted by Ambroise Pierre, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Africa Desk, who arrived in Dakar yesterday morning. He is due to meet government officials and journalists during his stay, and will visit news media to discuss their campaign coverage strategy with their editors.
He will evaluate the level of freedom of expression and information, assess whether the various political parties are getting equal access to the media, and question candidates about respect for freedom of information.
The mission diary does not aim to be a constantly updated blog but entries will be posted as often as possible. It will allow the reader to follow Reporters Without Borders’ week in Dakar, its meetings, the way the media are covering the campaign, and any obstacles journalists encounter in their work.
“This presidential election is an important period in Senegal’s political and democratic life,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Since the middle of last year it has been clear from the discussions about the validity of the incumbent’s participation and the opposition to his candidacy that this election would be accompanied by a great deal of tension.
“We deplore the incidents that have affected the media during the past three weeks and we ask that journalists be allowed to work freely and without fearing for their safety. We are here to demonstrate our solidarity with Senegal’s journalists, to monitor the media’s election coverage and to stress the need for strict professionalism on the part of the media during the election.”
More information (only in French) at: http://journalmission.rsf.org