Senegalese journalist handed suspended prison sentence

On December 18, 2012, a judge convicted editor El Malick Seck of weekly news magazine L’Exclusif of criminal defamation over a column critical of Sidy Lamine Niasse, the chief executive of private media group Walf, according to news reports.

Seck was sentenced to a suspended six-month prison term and ordered to pay Niasse damages of 100 million CFA francs (US$201,000), according to news reports.

Niasse filed a complaint after L’Exclusif–in its June 5, 2012, edition–published a story alleging he blackmailed a series of Senegalese heads of state, citing purported secret transfers of large sums of money between the state treasury and Walf media group’s bank account, according to news reports. Niasse’s lawyer declared the allegations false and demanded 700 million CFA francs (US$1.4 million) in damages, according to the same sources.