The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on the Senegalese authorities to put an end to the legal proceedings against Abdou Latif Coulibaly, investigative journalist and Director of Publication of the weekly magazine, La Gazette, who was charged on July 10, 2010 for “concealment of administrative and private documents pertaining to the Senegalese National Lottery (LONASE)” following a complaint of its Managing Director Mr. Baila Wane.

“The charge itself is problematic, because the said documents normally belong to the public domain, since LONASE is a public company.” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of IFJ Africa Office. “This inculpation of the journalist is of  grave concern, since on one hand, it challenges and questions the right of access of the citizens to public information and on the other hand the protection of  sources which constitute one of the basic principles of the exercise of journalism” he added.

On July 2007, following an investigation, Abdou Latif Coulibaly, Director of Publication of the weekly magazine, La Gazette published a book entitled: “Senegalese National Lottery (LONASE): chronicle of an organized plundering” giving a report on a bad management of public money within this national company. Following this publication, the Managing Director and the company, summoned the author to appear before the regional Court of Dakar for “defamation and publication of false reports”.

Ruling in penal audience, the Court, dismissed the plaintiffs, by declaring inadmissible the procedure initiated by LONASE Managing Director, who immediately lodged an appeal and the case is tabled for November 5th.

For more information: http://africa.ifj.org/en/articles/ifj-urges-senegal-to-drop-concealment-charges-to-the-prosecution-of-a-journalist