This Thursday, November 3, the Malian High Authority for Communication (HAC) suspended for a period of two months one of the country’s main news channels after comments critical of the ruling junta made by one of its star journalists.
The body argues in its decision “that the grievances alleged against Joliba TV news constitute serious and repeated breaches and violations of the substantial provisions of the Code of Ethics for Journalism in Mali”. The information was confirmed by the management of the media concerned.
The chain had been put on notice on October 13, because of an editorial of September 30 by Mohamed Attaher Halidou which included, according to the HAC, “defamatory remarks and unfounded accusations concerning the regulatory body, the High Authority for communication, the state of freedom of expression in Mali and the authorities of the transition”.
We are in the dictatorship of the single thought
“Intolerance is growing in our country. Freedom of expression is in danger, democracy with it. We are in the dictatorship of the single thought ”, declared Mohamed Attaher Halidou in particular in his editorial which followed the triumphant return of the Prime Minister, Abdoulaye Maïga, from New York, where he had delivered an incendiary speech against France and some of its neighbors at the UN General Assembly.
Mali: at the UN, Abdoulaye Maïga continues the blows against France and ECOWAS
“For now, the colonels in power govern with the opinion of the mob and the mob by definition does not think”, did he for follow-up. He also urged the HAC “to play its role and all its role in dealing with the multiple abuses on social networks”.
Restrictions on freedom of expression
The chain’s formal notice had provoked numerous reactions of indignation among Malian journalists, worried about abuses in terms of freedom of the press and expression.
In August, the NGO Human Rights Watch denounced the “detentions and harassment of alleged critical figures” since the military authorities took power in two coups in August 2020 and May 2021.
Mali: journalists under pressure
She had identified the various obstacles to freedom of expression since the military came to power: expulsion of journalists, suspension of the issuance of accreditations for foreign correspondents, “harassment” by “online commentators” of critics of the government, and considered that this “repression of the media and the detention of critics had a chilling effect on political life and space civic”.