by Andy Sennitt.
Senegalese musician Youssou N’Dour, who owns a major media group in Dakar, has launched his private television station after a difference with the authorities over its finance. TFM (Television Futurs Medias) is a cultural channel that went on the air on Wednesday evening with a debate among diplomats, business people, musicians, politicians and officials.
“The television is an instrument that serves to broadcast information. It can be an instrument of propaganda, but it can also be dangerous,” said Prime Minister Souleymane Ndene Ndiaye as he congratulated N’Dour on the initiative.
“I never had any doubt, because I always believed that TFM would broadcast, sooner or later,” Mr N’Dour said. The renowned musician announced in May that he had obtained an authorisation to broadcast, which the Senegalese state had previously withheld after he first announced his plans in 2008.
The launch of TFM comes after a conflict with the authorities which was officially about the means of financing the channel. On 1 May, President Abdoulaye Wade said that the refusal to give a licence to broadcast was based on the state’s wish to prevent any influence on its policy by “foreigners”. Mr Ndour managed to persuade the government that the money was not coming from abroad and provided the evidence to back up his claim, Communications Minister Moustapha Guirassy said.
TFM is Senegal’s fifth privately owned television channel. Youssou Ndour, 50, already owns a group called Futurs Medias, which includes the radio RFM (Radio Futurs Medias) and L’Observateur, a daily newspaper often critical of the government.
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