|Official Country Name:||Republic of Senegal|
|Region (Map name):||Africa|
|Language(s):||French, Wolof, Pulaar, Jola, Mandinka|
Background & General Characteristics
The westernmost country of Africa, Senegal occupies 531 km of North Atlantic coastline between Guinea-Bissau and Mauritania. It borders Mali, the Gambia and Guinea. It extends over 196,190 square kilometers of tropical hot and humid land. Its capital is Dakar.
Previously a French colony, Senegal gained independence on April 4,1960. French is the official language but Wolof, Pulaar, Serere, Soninke, Jola and Mandinka are also widely used, and TV news is aired daily in all these languages. This diversity further complicates the issue of literacy, which stands at the low rate of 33.1 percent of people over fifteen who could read and write, of which 43 percent were male and only 23.2 percent were female.
Senegal has ten dailies, and the government created a four page daily bulletin about its own activities: Le Quotidien de la République (The Republic's Daily). At the same time as this bulletin was created, a team of young journalists started work at the newly liberated Le Soleil (The Sun), that had previous government ties, and the Ministère de l'Information et de la Communication was closed. All these events altered and freed the climate of the Senegal press. Three other important newspapers are Le Sud Quotidien (The South Daily), Le Témoin (The Witness) and Walf Fadjri .
Le Soleil , created in spring 1970, succeeded the Société sénégalaise de Presse et de Publications' (SSPP) Dakar-Matin (Dakar's Morning, 1961-1970) and was named at the suggestion of writer Léopold Sédar Senghor who was then president of Senegal. Dakar-Matin had followed in the footsteps of Paris-Dakar (1933-1961) that had managed to grow from a weekly to a bi-then a tri-weekly and finally a daily in 1936. Dakar-Matin became Le Soleil , (the Sun) only one day after the first anniversary of the country's newly acquired independence. In 2000, Hadj Kasse directed the paper. By 2002, Le Soleil employed 175 persons, published 25,000 copies daily and sold 23,000 copies. A group of regional correspondents is in place and the paper sells throughout Africa, Europe, Asia, the United States, Canada and the rest of the world. The group also has special ties to several foreign country newspapers including El Moudjahid in Algeria, La Presse in Tunisia, L'Union in Gabon, Mweti in Congo, Fraternité-Matin in the Ivory Coast and Le Matin in Morocco.
Senegal's natural resources include fish, phosphates, and iron ore. The GDP per capita in purchasing power was approximately US $1,600 in the year 2000. The country started a bold economic reform in January 1994, cutting inflation down to 2 percent and diminishing the deficit. There are still problems of urban unemployment, juvenile delinquency and drug addiction.
The Agence de Presse Sénégalaise (APS, The Senegalese Press Agency) with its headquarters in Dakar, and the Agence de Distribution de Presse (ADP, The Press Distribution Agency) are the most important news agencies. Others include the Agence France Presse (The France Press Agency) with IZF, Afrique Tribune (Africa's Tribune), Depeches de la Pana (The Pana's Wire), and Edicom.
Like many African countries Senegal is part of the Institut Panos Afrique de l'Ouest, an African organization involved with conflicts, minorities, violence and human rights issues.
Broadcasting is under the control of the Haut Conseil de la Radio-Télévision (HCRT) in Dakar. In 1998, there were ten AM radio stations, fourteen FM radio stations and no short wave radio station. The country counted 1.24 million radio sets. There was only one television station in 1997, and 361,000 sets.
Electronic News Media
In 1996, Senegal achieved full Internet connectivity with Enda and Telecom Plus. Since then several ISP and cybercafes have been added, including Metissacana, Arc Information, Africa online, Cyber Business Center and Africa-network, making a total of six Internet providers and 30,000 users. This development stimulated the growth of information technology-based services.
Since April 1998, Le Soleil has had an Internet version. Edicom and France Link have developed Senegal-related sites. Africatime.com publishes articles of Panafrican and international nature. AllAfrica and Panapress also offer news online. Seneweb specializes in Senegalese music.
Education & Training
Senegalese journalists used to study in France. For example, Annette Mbaye d'Erneville, a pioneer in the field, went to study journalism and radio in Paris, then returned to launch the magazine Femmes de Soleil in 1957 (which became most successful when was renamed Awa in 1963). She became program director at the Broadcasting Studio in Senegal.
There are several local journalism and telecommunications programs operating in Senegal, at the Ecole Supérieure Multinationale des Télécommunications (ESMT) in Dakar, and at the Multinational Higher School of Telecommunications. There are also a number of training programs at the university Cheikh Anta Diop, at the Ecole Supérieure Polytechnique de Dakar (ESP), and at the university Gaston Berger de Saint Louis.
AISI Connect Online Database. Available from www2.snapc.org/africa/ .
Del Bende, J. L. Senegal Online . Available from www.sengal-online.com .
Institut Panos Afrique de l'Ouest. 2002. Available from www.pans.sn .
Sussman, Leonard R., and Karin Deutsch Karlekar, eds. The Annual Survey of Press Freedom . New York: Freedom House, 2002.