Senegalese singer Youssou N’Dour launched his own TV station on Sept. 1 — two years after his plans were put on hold by government officials.
Television Futurs Medias (TFM) is the fifth privately owned web to broadcast in the West African nation.
The government was initially reluctant to grant the net a license after a dispute over N’Dour’s financial backers threatened to torpedo the project.
President Abdoulaye Wade, speaking about the controversy earlier this year, said that the government did not want “foreigners” influencing the web’s broadcasts.
But N’Dour was able to convince officials that coin for the project was coming from domestic sources.
“In a world where more and more people are affected by the strength of images and the speed of information, it is a pleasure to say that the state of Senegal made the right decision,” N’Dour says, opening TFM.
Channel is the latest addition to N’Dour’s Futurs Medias, a media group based in Senegal’s capital, Dakar, that also includes radio station RFM (Radio Futurs Medias), which launched in 2003, and daily newspaper L’Observateur, which is often critical of Wade’s government.
Station execs say TFM will be a cultural channel that will also report on political, social and economic issues.
In recent years, N’Dour has been an outspoken critic of Wade, fraying the formerly close ties between the president and him. Earlier this year, N’Dour denied reports he was planning to campaign against Wade in the next presidential elections, expected to be held in 2012.
Some analysts have suspected a connection between the web’s licensing troubles and N’Dour’s political views, but the singer has sought to quell those rumors.
The 50-year-old musician is one of Africa’s most widely respected pop stars and was once described by Rolling Stone as the most famous living African singer.
He was the subject of last year’s acclaimed docu “I Bring What I Love,” by helmer Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi.