Journalists still victims of violence
Attacks on journalists have declined but press freedom is still fragile. The ever-present and significant danger from terrorism was compounded by a military coup in August 2020, the fourth since Mali became an independent country in 1960. The added grounds that the coronavirus crisis provided for exercising control over the media also increased the uncertainties for journalists, who hope the new transitional government will finally decriminalise press offences. The investigation into the shooting deaths of two French radio journalists in Kidal in northern Mali in November 2013 has still not concluded and has yet to clarify the circumstances surrounding this double murder. In 2019, an investigation by the colleagues of the murdered journalists contradicted the French army’s version of its role in the events. Northern and central Mali have continued to be dangerous and hard to access for media personnel ever since the 2013 crisis. This was evident when a journalist was murdered in Timbuktu in 2015, and a journalist was taken hostage during a personal visit to the centre of the country in 2018. RSF continues to investigate the disappearance of a journalist in January 2016, in which the journalist’s family and journalists who investigated the case suspect that the former president’s son, Karim Keita, may have played a role. Keita systematically harasses journalists and media who link him to this disappearance. The authorities harass the media over their coverage of security issues, and any criticism of the army can lead to arrest on a charge of “contravening standards and undermining troop morale”. There is a significant degree of media pluralism, but the media are short of money and find it hard to resist the editorial dictates of those who fund them.
108 in 2020
34.12 in 2020