Mali's ruling junta to suspend RFI, France 24
Mali's government says it rejects the false accusations against the Malian army and decides to suspend broadcasts by RFI and France 24.
Mali's ruling junta ordered French state-funded broadcasters RFI (Radio France Internationale) and France 24 off the air on Wednesday night, complaining they had falsely accused the army of committing abuses.
The government in Bamako "categorically rejects these false accusations against the courageous FAMA (Malian Armed Forces)," Spokesperson Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga said.
The junta is "initiating proceedings... to suspend broadcasts by RFI and France 24 ... until further notice," he continued.
According to Reuters, the broadcasters reported allegations made by Human Rights Watch and the head of the UN rights commission Michelle Bachelet.
Maiga described the media-reported allegations as "a premeditated strategy aimed at destabilizing the political transition, demoralizing the Malian people, and discrediting the Malian army."
RFI and France 24 were still broadcasting on Thursday morning in the Sahel nation.
There is no recent precedent in Mali for major foreign news media to be taken off the air.
The junta, which seized power in August 2020, said there had been "false accusations" in a report early in the week in which RFI aired comments from alleged victims of abuse by the Malian army.
Maiga pointed out that Malian news websites, newspapers, and its national radio and TV stations were all "banned from rebroadcasting and/or publishing programs and news articles put out by RFI and France 24."