Senegal / Radio and television group blacked out for payment default

Regulation & Policy

Senegalese police have been used by the courts to enforce royalty payments in a dawn raid that shut down the broadcast group Walfadjri. Uniformed police made a 6am raid on the broadcast group’s offices in the Kébé building in Dakar city centre, violently seizing equipment and cutting aerials, abruptly ending broadcasts.

The BSDA lodged two cases against the Walfadjri group at the special court in Dakar and a judge ruled in its favour after studying the initial complaint on 6 August 2009. This decision was notified to the chairman of the media group, Sidy Lamine Niasse, on 13 August.

The court ruled that all programmes put out on radio and television Walfadjri FM with content to which royalties applied should be temporarily suspended until completion of the legal procedure and payment in full of the royalties owed - 50 million CFA francs (76,225 euros). Lamine Diasse had refused to accept the court decision.

“If there is a dispute between the Senegalese royalties’ bureau (BSDA) and the Walfadjri media group, it should be resolved by other means,” Reporters Without Frontiers said. “Nothing can justify the use of force and seizure of equipment. The outright suspension of broadcasts has the chief effect of depriving a section of the population of access to news", it added.