19 August 2014

Senegal: Newspaper Editor Handed Suspended Sentence for Publishing False News On Ebola

press release

Félix N'zalé, a journalist and managing editor of privately-owned La Tribune newspaper, was on August 14, 2014, handed a one-year suspended sentence and a fine of FCFA one million (equivalent to US$ 2,200) for publishing false news.

He was also ordered to publish the court's decision in four newspapers in the country.

The La Tribune newspaper on August 11, carried a front-page story titled "5 cases of Ebola in Senegal". The report is said to have caused panic among the Senegalese people and annoyed the authorities, including the Minister of Health, Eva Marie Coll Seck.

According to MFWA's correspondent, the state prosecutor, took up the matter and had the journalist summoned. He was kept in police custody and then later placed under a committal order on August 12.

In a press communiqué, the Ministry of Justice, said the information published by the newspaper could have extremely serious repercussions for Senegal. "This information can place our country in quarantine by the international community and seriously affect Senegalese desirous of travelling, particularly at a time when people are busy preparing for the pilgrimage to Mecca."

N'zalé is said to have apologised to the court at the trial. 'I'm sorry, I regret the act. I acknowledge that the information is false," he said.

The journalist is also said to have admitted to the court that he did not crosscheck his information before publishing because he trusted his source.

The MFWA is calling on journalists to be professional in their work. We urge them to be a source of public education on the disease instead of causing panic with false information.


Ghana Hopes Dashed As Senegal Go Through

When the roll call for the U-20 AFCON Zambia 2017 is done, Ghana will be conspicuously missing after a 1-0 win over… Read more »

Copyright © 2014 Media Foundation for West Africa. All rights reserved. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com). To contact the copyright holder directly for corrections — or for permission to republish or make other authorized use of this material, click here.

AllAfrica publishes around 1,000 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.