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.