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Senegal’s CNRA bans local media from broadcasting political propaganda ahead of elections

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Ghanaian journalists fear as silencing culture rears its head

Senegal’s National Audiovisual Regulatory Council (CNRA) on Wednesday, 2 January 2018, announced that the local media have been banned from broadcasting any political propaganda before, during and after campaigns ahead of presidential elections scheduled for 24 February 2019.

Thus, during the pre-campaign period, which “runs from 4 January 2019 at 00:00 am to 2 February 2019 at midnight,” the CNRA recalled that the Electoral Code prohibits the broadcasting, by the media (print, online, radio and television), of any demonstration or public declaration of support for a candidate “made directly or indirectly.”

It also warned against “any public demonstration or declaration of support made during visits and tours of an economic, social or otherwise qualified nature, carried out by any state authorities on the national territory.”

For the election campaign, which officially begins on 3 February 2019, the ban covers the use of any commercial advertising process for election propaganda purposes through the written or online press, radio and television.

At this level too, public service broadcasting is “subject to the obligation to respect” the principle of equality, in the airtime made available to candidates where the media, other than public service broadcasting, which deals with the electoral campaign, “are required to strictly respect” the rules of equity and balance in the treatment of candidates’ activities.

For the end of the first round campaign scheduled for 22 February 2019 at midnight, “the dissemination by the media of any election propaganda,”  is prohibited, on the eve of the election and on polling day; a prohibition that simultaneously concerns “any element relating to the election campaign (debates, interviews, press releases and reviews).”

In addition, the CNRA referred to the particular case of community radio stations which, according to Article 18 of the specifications applicable to them, may not broadcast information, messages or debates of a political nature.


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