March 17, 2022
Mali’s ruling military junta announced on Thursday that it has begun the process of suspending broadcasts by French state-funded media outlets RFI radio and France 24 television after they reported “false allegations” of abuse by the Malian Army.
Allegations made by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet and Human Rights Watch were reported by RFI and France 24, sparking anger from the junta. The rights group argued that Mali soldiers have been responsible for killing at least 71 civilians since early December, and army abuses have been reported in the country, including the execution of elderly people and children. The junta denies these reports.
The military junta in Mali, which staged two coups in August 2020 to seize control of the country, accused the outlets of engaging in “a premeditated strategy aimed at destabilizing the political transition,” as well as seeking to “demoralize the Malian people and discredit the Malian army.”
While the two outlets were still reportedly on air in Mali on Thursday morning, the military junta revealed it is taking steps to suspend broadcasts. It did not reveal how long that process would take, when it expected it to take effect, or how long they would be blocked from airing.
France Medias Monde, the state-owned company behind RFI and France 24, said in response it “protested against the unfounded accusations.”