Senegal star Ndour to launch TV station: media

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The Independent Culture

Senegalese pop star and media owner Youssou Ndour has been granted a license to set up a private television station, newspapers reported Wednesday.

The state had been refusing permission for two years.

The 50-year old artist runs the Future Medias group which includes a radio station RFM and daily newspaper L'Observateur which are often critical of President Abdoulaye Wade's government.

At his headquarters Ndour "thanked everyone for their support in the struggle to get authorities to allow the start of Future Medias Television" reported L'Observateur.

Authorities have said the long conflict is over the financing of the network. On May 1, Wade linked the refusal to the fact that the state did not want its policies conditioned by foreigners.

He referred to French group Bollore - which lost a concession at Dakar's port in 2007 - suggesting they intended to finance the television station.

However in a meeting between the president and the singer on Monday, Ndour provided "all the evidence" on the financing, Communications Minister Moustapha Guirassy said Tuesday.

"The president understands ... there was no foreign funding," Future Media's director general Mamadou Diop was quoted as saying by the Senegalese News Agency.

Ndour is not allowed to launch a general private channel, but a cultural television station.

Ndour is one of Africa's most successful singing stars. He has achieved international success with his mixture of Senegal's popular Mbalax music style with samba, hip-hop, jazz and soul. He has become involved in many social and political issues.