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West African Group Defends Press Rights

West African Group Defends Press Rights

DAKAR, Senegal (AP) - After decades of letting international organizations defend

the few among them who dared criticize their governments, West African journalists

are standing up for themselves.

Two years ago, the West African Journalists' Association set up a small bureau to

monitor press freedom in the region and protest attacks on journalists.

Each morning, Abdoulaye Ndiago Sylla, director of the association, pores through

newspapers and magazines and listens to international radio broadcasts for reports

of attacks on the press.

"I try to verify the report, and if it is true I may contact Amnesty International

or another organization," he said. "We also will contact the government

involved, and tell other journalists about it. Sometimes bad publicity results in

the journalists being released."

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists estimates that at least 26 African

journalists are in prison.

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