15 March 2013

Mali: Mounting Concern for Press Freedom in Mali, Journalists Impose Media Blackout

press release

Journalists and privately-owned media organisations across the country have embarked on an indefinite media blackout to demand the release of their colleague, Boukary Daou who has been detained without charge since his arrest on March 6, 2013 by officers of the Malian Intelligence Agency.

Daou, managing editor of privately-owned daily Le Republican newspaper, was arrested for publishing a letter to interim President, Dioncounda Traore. The letter was written by some aggrieved soldiers, reportedly angered at the wage benefits being given to Captain Amadou Sanogo, leader of the March 22, 2012 coup that ousted President Toumani Toure from power.

According to the MFWA correspondent, since March 12, 2013 newspapers have not appeared on newsstands and radio stations have ceased broadcasting. The measure, according to the journalists will remain in force until their colleague is released.

In an earlier development, Dramane Traore, a journalist with privately-owned Radio Kayira, on February 28, 2013 sustained knife wounds on his head when he was attacked by an unknown assailant. Traore suffered his ordeal when his attacker visited his home and pretended to be delivering a letter meant for the radio station, and struck his head with a knife.

Traore, a critical political analyst had been threatened weeks earlier by an unidentified person that he would be killed soon, if he did not resign from Radio Kayira.

The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) is very concerned and condemns recent developments in the Malian media, whose workers have become targets of kidnapping, detention, assault and censorships since the country's political crises in March 2012.

We urge the security agencies to immediately convene a meeting with the leaders of the various media associations and groups to strategise on halting these attacks and intimidations.

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