The IPI global network strongly condemns the arrest and detention of prominent investigative journalist Ale Pape Niang, who has been targeted repeatedly by authorities over the past nine months. Authorities must drop all charges and immediately release Niang so he can receive needed medical attention.
Niang, Editor-in-chief of online news outlet Dakar Matin, was arrested on July 29 after he published a live video online about the detention of the opposition leader Ousman Sonko. He appeared in court on August 1, on charges of instigating “ insurrection’’ and disrupting the public order. Niang remains in detention, where he has been on a hunger strike since his arrest.
Lissa Faye, President of the Association des Éditeurs et Professionnels de la presse en ligne (APPEL), told IPI that Niang’s health is deteriorating as a result of having gone on hunger strikes when he was previously arrested and detained in 2022.
This is the third time that Niang has been arrested in the past nine months. In November 2022, he was arrested and detained for allegedly divulging military secrets. He was released in December, under restrictive conditions including a ban on his speaking publicly about his case. He was arrested again a week later, accused by the court of not respecting the terms of his release.
Niang is one of several other journalists that have been arrested and detained in Senegal over the last months for criticizing the government or commenting on the court case of Ousman Sonko. On June 7, Oustaz Assane Seck of Sen TV was arrested and detained after he declared in a video that there would be a public protest if Sonko was sentenced to prison. On June 4, Cheikh Bara Ndiaye of Walfadjri TV was arrested and detained after publishing a series of recommendations to end the political crisis in the country. On June 1, Walf TV was suspended for 30 days, for the third time in a space of three months, over allegations of “irresponsible” coverage.
On May 24, Serigne Saliou Guèye, editor-in-chief of the privately-owned daily Yoor-Yoor, was arrested over allegations of contempt of court, illegal exercise of the journalism profession, and complicity in these acts. On May 16, journalist Maty Sarr Niang of Kéwoulo was arrested over an accusation of an attempt to the state security and contempt of court. On March 3, Pape Ndiaye, a journalist working with the privately owned media house Walf TV was arrested over comments on the court case involving Ousmane Sonko.
“Authorities must immediately release Pape Ale Niang and ensure he has full access to proper medical care”, IPI Africa Advocacy and Partnerships Lead Nompilo Simanje said. ‘’The government must ensure that journalists can do their work without fear of harassment or arrest. Legal provisions that undermine media freedom should be repealed in line with international standards.”