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How CPJ investigates and classifies attacks on the press

OCTOBER 24, 2003
Posted: November 14, 2003

Sophie Malibeaux, Radio France Internationale (RFI)

RFI correspondent Malibeaux was forced to leave the country following an expulsion order dated October 6. She was accused of threatening national security after RFI broadcast her interview with a hard-line member of a rebel group from Casamance, a region in southern Senegal. Talks between RFI management and Senegalese authorities in the capital, Dakar, failed to get the expulsion order lifted.

Security agents detained Malibeaux on October 7 in Ziguinchor, Casamance's capital, and flew her under military escort to Dakar, where she was served with an expulsion order and told to leave the country immediately. Malibeaux had been in Ziguinchor covering a congress of rebel groups aimed at preparing peace talks with the government. Before the gathering started, RFI had aired Malibeaux's interview with Alexandre Djiba, a member of a rebel movement that had boycotted the meeting.

The expulsion order brought protests from journalists' organizations and from RFI, which managed to obtain a suspension pending further discussions. RFI said one of its top directors went to Dakar from October 20 to 22 "to convince the Senegalese authorities to reverse their decision to expel Sophie Malibeaux," but that the talks had failed. Malibeaux left Senegal on October 24. RFI said it reaffirmed its confidence in Malibeaux and deplored the expulsion order.