Senegal has a vibrant music and dance culture
that underpins a successful music industry. Many artists
have had an international impact with the music style
mbalax. There is also a rich storytelling tradition and
the country had an early, albeit small, film industry.
The mbalax music style blends the traditional drums
of Sabar's rhythms with jazz, rock, soul and Latin
rhythms into a native Afropop. It has been developed and
become known around the world not least by Youssou
N'Dour, one of Africa's most famous singers. N'Dour also
runs a media empire and has stepped into politics (see
Mass Media and Modern History). In 2013 he was awarded
the Swedish Polar Prize.
Latest population statistics of Senegal, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
Famous names are also Baaba Maal, Cheikh Lô and
Thione Seck. Among young people, rap music has also had
a major impact. There are a number of groups that rap in
the language wolof on both politics and religion. Some
have had a particularly significant impact and formed a
youth movement with political focus in connection with
the dissatisfaction with President Abdoulaye Wade in
2011 and 2012 (see Current policy).
The oral storytelling tradition is rich and the
singing storytellers (griot in French, gewel on wolof)
play an important role in the local community. However,
there is not much literature in native languages, as
most writers write in French. Some well-known authors
are Aminata Sow Fall, Boubacar Boris Diop and the
ex-president and poet Léopold Sédar Senghor (1906–2001).
Towards the end of the colonial era, Senghor was one of
the representatives of the then influential négrite
movement, which claimed the value of the black culture.
Songaah: List and lyrics of songs related to the country name of Senegal. Artists and albums are also included.
Senegalese film was an early leader in free West
Africa. The director and writer Ousmane Sembène
(1923–2007) has been called “the father of the African
film”. He was one of the initiators of the Pan-African
Film Festival in Burkina Faso and made several
internationally award-winning films. Sembène also wrote
several socially critical novels, including God's wooden
Other names are the cult-declared Djibril Diop
Mambéty (1943–1998) and Moussa Sène Absa, who have
gained international attention not only as a filmmaker
but also as a painter and musician.
Senegal traditionally has a relatively free
press with a large selection of newspapers and a lively
political debate. Nowadays there are also private radio
and TV channels. However, the media climate deteriorated
during President Wade's reign of 2000–2012. The
situation for the country's media workers has improved
since Macky Sall took over the presidency in 2012. But
promises to decriminalize criminal offenses have not
been fulfilled, and threats, harassment and prosecution
of journalists exist and contribute to some
Freedom of the press and opinion are included in the
constitution. At the same time, the media is limited by
laws that allow journalists to risk imprisonment and
high fines for insulting the president, publishing fake
news or threatening the country's security. Several such
convictions have been sentenced in recent years,
although prison sentences are often conditional.
When Abdoulaye Wade was president, he ended up on a
collision course with the privately owned media. Before
the 2007 presidential election, Wade made a critical
statement about the press, which he claimed was
campaigning against him. The criticism of his decision
to stand for re-election in 2012 further intensified the
contradictions (see Modern history). In 2011, there were
even protests from journalists employed by the state
radio and television company Radiodiffusion-Télévision
Sénégalaise (RTS). They were critical of the editors'
overly faithful attitude. Despite this, RTS gave little
room for the increasingly loud opposition to Wade.
Under President Sall, the media climate has been
relatively tolerant and many media have been able to
take a government-critical stance without feeling bad.
In 2013, however, the editor-in-chief of the privately
owned newspaper Le Quotidien was sentenced to one month
in prison and fined for publishing a critical article on
a former foreign minister. A reporter in the daily
newspaper was also sentenced to a shorter prison
sentence. The court also decided to close Le Quotidien
for three months. Other prosecution charges or charges
of "spreading fake news" have also resulted in similar
There are up to 20 daily newspapers and several
weekly and monthly newspapers. Some of the most
important newspapers are the government agency Le Soleil
and the privately owned Sud Quotidien, Le Quotidien, Wal
Fadjri l'Aurore and L'Observateur. All are
Newspaper editions are small; The radio is the most
important news communicator because many residents
cannot read. The state RTS dominates, but since the
1990s there are a number of private radio stations.
Broadcasts are available in both French and domestic
languages. During the 2000s, private TV channels were
also added. Particular attention was given to the
channel launched in 2010 by singer and world star
Youssou N'Dour, after two years of struggle against the
authorities. His media group already runs a radio
channel and the magazine L'Observateur.
Access to the internet is not restricted by the
authorities. Nearly one fifth of the population had
access to the network in 2014. Mobile use has increased
significantly in recent years, which has resulted in a
greater spread of news and increased use of social
FACTS - MASS MEDIA
Percentage of the population using the
46 percent (2017)
Number of mobile subscriptions per 100