Reporters without Borders on Thursday called on Senegal's new president to take action to promote press freedom after three years of arrests and violence against journalists.

The arrival of the new government offers "an opportunity to heal the wounded face of media in Senegal," the watchdog known as RSF said in a report, highly criticising the previous administration under president Macky Sall.

President Bassirou Diomaye Faye swept April elections on an anti-establishment ticket after three years of crisis during which "the conditions of working as a journalist progressively worsened in a country long considered a bastion of press freedom in Africa," said the French NGO.

During that time, Senegal slipped from 49th to 94th place on RSF's world press freedom index.

RSF listed the questioning or arrest of more than 20 journalists since March 2021, dozens of assaults on news professionals by security forces or individuals during protests, waves of cyber harassment and the abusive closure of internet and social media access and publications deemed to be against the government.

The NGO said it was urgent to ensure editorial independence was guaranteed and the media had better financial support.

RSF called for systematic investigations of violence against journalists and prosecution.

It also said prison sentences for media outfits should be removed from the law.

RSF noted that charges of "spreading false news" or "offending" the head of state have often been used against journalists perceived as critical of the government.

A court on Monday sentenced two men to three months in jail for "disinformation" after they accused Prime Minister Ousmane Sonko of allegedly tolerating homosexuality.