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Interview: Push For More Press Freedom In West Africa

Julia Ritchey

  Sixteen African journalists from the across the continent visited KUNR this week as part of the U.S. State Department's Edward R. Murrow program for foreign journalists. Reno Public Radio's Julia Ritchey sat down with one Senegalese reporter to learn about her work.

Mansoura Fall is a journalist with the Senegalese Press Agency, the state-run news source for Senegal's government in West Africa.

She writes about politics, economics, culture and the environment. Because this is her first visit to the U.S., she has been most interested in seeing the separation between media and government.

"In our countries, particularly in Senegal, it happens sometimes when the government is funding some news, they tend to influence the stories of journalists."

This leads to journalists practicing self-censorship so as not to risk angering high-ranking officials. But Fall says she's hopeful African countries will eventually shift toward more press freedom.

"It takes time; it takes time. But I think we will find an issue to build a wall as it is here in the United States — to build a wall between government and our practice."

Each year, the Edward R. Murrow program brings 75 journalists from around the world to the U.S. to let them explore American media practices and operations.

Julia Ritchey is a former reporter at KUNR Public Radio.
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