Panafrican News Agency

Mali initiates measures to suspend French media RFI and France 24

Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (PANA) - Mali's transitional government on Thursday rejected allegations of abuses by its army against civilians and said it had initiated measures to suspend Radio France Internationale (RFI) and France 24 television in the country.

A statement from the minister in charge of administration and government spokesperson, Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga said the government has learned with deep consternation false reports of abuses by the Malian Armed Forces (FAMA) against civilians, violations of human rights and international humanitarian law.

The statement said these false allegations without any foundation were published, respectively, through a statement by Mrs. Michelle Bachelet, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, on 8 March, 2022, a report by Human Right Watch, on 15 March, 2022, and a report by Radio France Internationale on 14 and 15 March, 2022.

"Considering the timing of this media hype, the government deduces a cleverly premeditated strategy aimed at destabilising the transition, demoralising the Malian people and discrediting the valiant FAMA," the Malian minister argued.

He added that some of the allegations, particularly those made by RFI, have no other objective than to sow hatred by "ethnicising insecurity" in Mali and reveal the criminal intent of journalists, some of whom did not stay in Mali more than a year ago.

Consequently, the communiqué said, the government of Mali categorically rejects these false allegations against FAMAs and is initiating a procedure, in accordance with the laws and regulations, to suspend, until further notice, the short-wave and FM broadcasting of RFI and France24 television, as well as all their digital platforms throughout the country.

At the same time, the press release said, the government of the Republic of Mali has forbidden all national radio and television stations, as well as news websites and Malian newspapers, from rebroadcasting and/or publishing RFI and France24 programmes and press articles, as soon as the suspension measure comes into force.

The Malian government recalls that the actions of RFI and France24 resemble, in the recent past, the infamous practices and role of Radio Mile Collines in a tragic event in Rwanda.

It said that all proven cases of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law involving elements of the defence and security forces "are systematically investigated impartially and the perpetrators are always punished in accordance with national legislation".

-0- PANA TNDD/JSG/BBA/MA 17March2022