Mali's Media Regulator Bans Outlets From Covering Political Groups

Dakar — The Committee to Protect Journalists urges Mali's media regulator to lift its ban on political reporting in the country and allow journalists to cover the news without restrictions.

On Thursday, the country's High Authority for Communication (HAC) issued a directive that "invited all media" to "stop all broadcasting and publication" of coverage on political parties and activities of a political nature of associations, according to the HAC press release and news reports.

The HAC's directive follows a decree from Mali's transitional government, which took power in a 2021 military coup, suspending "until further notice, for reasons of public order" coverage of political parties and activities of a political nature of associations.

As the country's two-year transitional period elapsed, several political parties and organizations have recently called for a presidential election.

"Malian citizens have the right to be informed about developments at this crucial moment in the country's political life and the press must not be prevented from doing their work, especially on subjects of such significant public interest," said Angela Quintal, head of CPJ's Africa program. "Mali's High Authority for Communication must reverse its directive barring political coverage in the country and allow journalists to cover the news freely."

Gaoussou Coulibaly, president of the HAC, told CPJ that the regulator was responsible for enforcing and ensuring that the media follow the "laws of the republic," adding that the HAC's directive aims to ensure that suspended political parties are not able to circumvent the ban by using media outlets as mouthpieces.

The HAC will investigate possible violations of the directive and penalties would range from warnings to the closure of outlets, Coulibaly said.

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