Mali’s ruling military junta has ordered French broadcasters RFI and France 24 off the air; owning to a complaint against the media outlets that they had falsely accused the army of committing abuses, According to a statement issued on Thursday.
The junta’s spokesman Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga said; that the government in Bamako “categorically rejects these false accusations against the courageous FAMA (Malian Armed Forces),”
The junta is “initiating proceedings… to suspend broadcasts by RFI and France 24… until further notice,” he continued in the statement which was dated Wednesday.
The European Union has however lampooned the ban as “unacceptable” and said the accusations on which it was based were “unfounded.”
“By attacking the freedom of the press, the freedom to inform and to be informed, the junta is continuing and confirming that it is pushing ahead regardless,” foreign policy spokeswoman Nabila Massrali said in Brussels.
France 24 and RFI
RFI was no longer broadcasting in Mali on Thursday afternoon, according to AFP reporters, although France 24 remained on air.
France Medias Monde, the parent company of RFI and France 24, said on Thursday that it “deplores” the decision to take its broadcasters off the air.
The junta, which seized power in back in the August 2020, said there had been “false accusations”; in a report early in the week in which RFI aired comments from alleged victims of abuse by the army; and shadowy Russian private-security group Wagner.
Maiga said Malian news websites, newspapers and its national radio and TV stations were all; “banned from rebroadcasting and/or publishing programmes and news articles put out by RFI and France 24”.
He also compared the French broadcasters to Rwanda’s Radio Mille Collines; a notorious outlet that incited listeners to exterminate minority Tutsis during the 1994 genocide.