In Senegal, journalists convicted of defamation

A court in Dakar, the capital, on August 14, 2013, sentenced Mamadou Biaye, former editor of the private daily Le Quotidien, and Bastien David, an intern reporter for the paper, to one month in prison each on charges of criminal defamation, Agence France-Presse reported.

The ruling was based on a complaint filed by former Foreign Affairs Minister Alioune Badara Cissé in connection with a column that commented on his dismissal from office, according to AFP. The court delivered a default judgment in the absence of the lawyers for the defendants, AFP said.

The court also sentenced Biaye and David to each pay a fine of 1 million CFA francs (US$2,000), the newspaper reported. Both journalists and Avenir Communications, the paper’s publisher, were also ordered to pay a total of 10 million CFA francs (US$20,500) in damages to Cissé, according to the same source.

Defense lawyer Mbaye Dieng told CPJ that the journalists and the publisher had filed an appeal. The paper continued to publish pending the appeal, according to local journalists.