Senegalese investigative journalist repeatedly charged with defamation after reporting on corruption

Issued by Transparency International Secretariat



Transparency International (TI), the global anti-corruption organisation, and Forum Civil, its chapter in Senegal, are concerned about the prosecution for criminal defamation and harassment of journalist Abdou Latif Coulibaly resulting from his investigative reporting on corruption and human rights violations in Senegal.

Coulibaly, an investigative reporter based in Senegal, won TI’s annual Integrity Award in 2005 for his outspoken critique of financial scandals, embezzlement cases, and irregularities in public contracting in Senegal. He is a founding member of the first private press group SudCom, and he is the editor in chief of La Gazette. Over the years, he has suffered serious political pressure and death threats for his investigations into allegations of corruption.

Government prosecutors have charged Coulibaly with criminal defamation in three cases related to publication of articles criticising the government and accusing public leaders of corruption. Coulibaly was recently found guilty in one of the cases which concerned the granting of a national telephone network license. He was given a one-month suspended jail sentence with a fine of 20 million CFA francs (US$41,334). The case is being appealed. Mr. Coulibaly is on trial in two other defamation cases where one plaintiff is requesting over 500 million CFA (US$1 million). Mr. Coulibaly is also being charged with illegal possession of government documents.

Over the years, many Senegalese journalists have been subject to criminal defamation charges while some have been subject to physical attacks and press organisations have had their offices vandalised.

TI warns that charges of criminal defamation are an indirect form of intimidation and will only exacerbate journalists’ self-censorship.

Accusing journalists of criminal defamation is strongly condemned by the international community and is contrary to an international trend to abolish this charge. The United Nations, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and Organization of American States (OAS) have joined with human rights organisations and journalist protection organisations to call for the abolition of criminal defamation laws.

TI and its network of 90 chapters around the world, as well as the 200 member strong UNCAC Coalition will remain close observers of the plight of investigative journalists in Senegal.


Transparency International is the global civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption, with a Secretariat based in Berlin.

Note to editors: Forum Civil is the local affiliate of Transparency International with a membership of several thousand Senegalese citizens.
For further information on criminal defamation see Joint Declaration of by the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, the OSCE Representative on freedom of the media, and the OAS Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, “International Mechanisms for Promoting Freedom of Expression,” December 10, 2002, http://www.osce.org/fom/39838. The UNCAC Coalition is a network of over 200 organisations monitoring the implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC)


For any press enquiries please contact

Transparency International
Deborah Wise Unger
T:+49 30 34 38 20 662
E:.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Latest

Support Transparency International

No hay cambios en las percepciones pese a los avances en América

En los últimos años, América Latina y el Caribe lograron adelantos significativos en la lucha contra la corrupción. En muchos países de la región existen ahora leyes y mecanismos para contrarrestar este fenómeno, las investigaciones legales están avanzando y los movimientos ciudadanos anticorrupción han incrementado. Sin embargo, de acuerdo con el Índice de Percepción de la Corrupción (IPC) 2017, la región continúa con bajos puntajes.

A redefining moment for Africa

The newly released Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) provides a good baseline for the African Union (AU) anti-corruption efforts in 2018. This year’s theme for the AU is “Winning the Fight against Corruption: A Sustainable Path to Africa’s Transformation.” As the AU rolls out its plan, this is an important moment for Africa to take stock of the current situation.

Perceptions remain unchanged despite progress in the Americas

In the last few years, Latin America and the Carribbean made great strides in the fight against corruption. Laws and mechanisms exist to curb corruption, while legal investigations are advancing and citizen anti-corruption movements are growing in many countries across the region. However, according to the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) 2017, the region continues to score poorly for corruption. How can we explain this contradiction?

Slow, Imperfect Progress across Asia Pacific

While no country in the Asia Pacific region scores a perfect 100, not even New Zealand or Singapore, which both experienced their share of scandals in the last year, our analysis reveals little progress across the region.

Europe and Central Asia: more civil engagement needed

In 2017, authoritarianism rose across Eastern and South East Europe, hindering anti-corruption efforts and threatening civil liberties. Across the region, civil society organisations and independent media experienced challenges in their ability to monitor and criticise decision-makers

Rampant Corruption in Arab States

In a region stricken by violent conflicts and dictatorships, corruption remains endemic in the Arab states while assaults on freedom of expression, press freedoms and civil society continue to escalate.

Digging deeper into corruption, violence against journalists and active civil society

To mark the release of the Corruption Perceptions Index 2017, we analysed corruption levels around the world and looked at how they relate to civil liberties – specifically, the ability of citizens to speak out in defence of their interests and the wider public good.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media

Would you like to know more?

Sign up to stay informed about corruption news and our work around the world