Mali’s ruling military junta suspended FRANCE 24 television and RFI radio in the country on Wednesday night, accusing the French public news service of reporting “false allegations” of abuse by the Malian army.
France Médias Monde, the parent company of the two news organizations, responded by condemning the decision and protesting the junta’s “unfounded accusations.”
According to a statement signed by government spokesman Colonel Abdoulaye Maiga, the Malian government “categorically rejects these false allegations against the valiant FAMa” [Malian Armed Forces] and has initiated “a procedure…to suspend the broadcasting of RFI…and France 24 until further notice.”
On Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron condemned the Malian government’s decision.
Since August 2020, the Malian junta has staged two coups. Several human rights organizations have accused it of violations, including a March 15 report by the New York-based Human Rights Watch, which accused Malian soldiers of killing at least 17 civilians since early December.
Following a breakdown in relations with the ruling junta, France announced the withdrawal of its troops from Mali earlier this year. French troops were in Mali on a military mission, fighting jihadist groups linked to al Qaeda and the Islamic State (IS) in the Sahel region.
In a statement, the Malian junta accused the two news organizations of a “premeditated strategy aimed at destabilizing the political transition, demoralizing the Malian people, and discrediting the Malian government.”