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Mali military junta bans media from covering politics

FILE - Men look at headlines from various newspapers in Bamako

FILE - Men look at headlines from various newspapers in Bamako

Mali’s junta has issued an order that bans media from reporting on activities of political parties and associations.

Issued by Mali’s high authority for communication on Thursday, the order was distributed on social media. It applies to all forms of media including television, radio, online and print newspapers.

The ban came one day after the junta suspended all activities by political parties until further notice. The military pointed to a need to maintain public order as the reason behind that ban. Media outlets that defy the ban could receive warnings, or even closure, the communications authority told one press freedom organization.

Local and international media groups have condemned the development. The Mali media association Maison de la Presse, or Press House, encouraged journalists to “stand tall, remain unified and to mobilize to defend the right of citizens to have access to information.” It also encouraged reporters to continue covering politics in the country.

And the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, or CPJ, called on the junta to immediately lift the ban.

“Malian citizens have the right to be informed about developments at this crucial moment in the country’s political life and the press must not be prevented from doing their work, especially on subjects of such significant public interest,” Angela Quintal, head of CPJ’s Africa program, said in a statement.

Mali’s National Commission for Human Rights, which serves in an advisory role to the government, also expressed concern about the move.

“Instead of calming the social climate, these restrictions on fundamental rights and freedoms could potentially stir up trouble and tension, which the country does not need,” it said in a statement.

The crackdown in Mali takes place at a time of broader instability in the West African country. Mali has experienced two military coups since 2020 and is struggling to respond to threats posed by militant groups tied to al-Qaida and the Islamic State.

Conditions for media reporting there are already dangerous, with a risk of being targeted by militant groups for those on assignment outside the capital, Bamako. French reporter Olivier Dubois was held hostage for nearly two years by a group affiliated with al-Qaeda that abducted him in the northeastern city of Gao in 2021.

He was freed in March last year, along with an American aid worker who had also been kidnapped. Out of 180 countries on the World Press Freedom Index, where 1 shows the best environment, Mali ranks 113, says Reporters Without Borders.

 

Comments

0 #1 kabayekka 2024-04-15 11:27
Typical of power thirsty Pan African military and political national forces.

They want to survive as the best rulers from the failures of dodgy civilian African governments. What can the poor Africans do other than to suffer continuously from their military lies and murder for many years and counting!
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0 #2 Asekereza james 2024-04-16 10:21
This, precisely, is the epidemic of stupidity that continues to blight the African continent power-mad leaders who cause a lot of suffering for equally ignorant citizens.!!

Such bogus leaders who hide behind "pan-africanism" [ an "ism" which no longer has any meaning!] are responsible for the millions of refugees generated from Africa heading for other more organized continents across the globe.
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