Mali – Bad day for the press one year after coup

 

The press is still mobilized in Mali after the arrest of their colleague Boukary Daou for a publication on Le Républicain newspaper about the captain Sanogo. His imprisonment is considered as unfair by the profession who sees it as a way to muzzle the press. One year after the coup, freedom of the press is on the verge to collapse.

A Malian absurdity. This is how Malika Groga-Bada, a journalist at Jeune Afrique described the Boukary Dadou’s matter. The director of Le Républicain newspaper was arrested by agents on the 6th of March and held in jail. He was then transfered to a common police and had a first court audience. The judge decided to keep him in jail until his new trial on the 16th of April. The counts of indictment held against him are incitement to crime and propagation of false informations based on the articles 35 and 36 of the Malian Press code. For Malika Groga-Bada the whole issue is an absudity given the context.

Boukary Daou. (Photo Credit: Profile picture of the journalist on Facebook)

Boukary Daou. (Photo Credit: Profile picture of the journalist on Facebook)

«We could have hoped that in such conditions, State Security had other things to do (…)Instead, we are amazed that its priority is to hunt down journalists rather paying attention to the the fights between French troops and Jihadists.»
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For now, Boukary Daou is still in a difficult position. He risks three years of jail and a fine. He still has the support of his colleagues such as Kassim Traoré, a Malian reporter.

«We have asked for his bail but we still have not received any answer. » he said.  «The charges are too severe and we know what to expect with such issues.»

According to Kassim Traoré, the journalists have been put under pressure and abuse since the coup.

«I have been frequently arrested at my house and kept for one day in custody. But for Boukary Daou, we are really confused because we do not have any clue about his release.»

The Committee to protect journalists has also denounced in a press relase the charges. The Comittee did a report on press freedom after the coup which show that twelve journalists have suffered from arbitrary detentions.  He saw his colleague yesterday in jail and said he was ready to resist and in good mood.

Violences in 2012 on other Malian journalists

«But we don’t know how long it is going to last.» From France, the spokerperson for the Foreign affairs Ministry, Philippe Lalliot called for the «immediate freeing» of Boukary Daou. And Malian journalists and African journalists based in Paris made a sit-in on the 19th of March in front of the Malian embassy in Paris. 

Screenshot of TV5monde Channel's footage on the protest in Paris to support Boukary Daou

Screenshot of TV5monde Channel’s footage on the protest in Paris to support Boukary Daou

The Malian authorities remain silent on the case for now. The Malian president, Diacounda Traore said a few words three days ago in Dakar about the issue, but it was the same declarations that he made last week. For him the whole article for which Boukary Daou has been condemned is made up by the journalist and he is suspicious that real soldiers are behind this open letter (video).

The country celebrates today the one year anniversary about the coup.

Lilia Blaise

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