The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has today condemned the unprecedented arrests of journalists by the security forces in Mali.
According to media professionals' associations affiliated to the Maison de la presse in Mali, including the National Union of Journalists which is an IFJ affiliate, two journalists have been arrested and detained for several hours by State Security agents within the past week.
In a press statement issued by the Maison de la presse, Makan Koné, President of the press centre, reaffirmed the commitment of Malian journalists to respect and safeguard press freedom in Mali, while condemning the tapping of journalists' phones. He also called on the government to protect journalists in the course of their work. .
“We denounce in the strongest terms possible the ongoing arrests of journalists in Mali which only serve to intimidate journalists from executing their professional duties,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa Office. “These deliberate acts of harassment and intimidation are crude tactics that violate the journalists’ right to freedom of expression as guaranteed by the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights, of which Mali is a signatory,” he added.
On 12 May, Birama Fall, Publishing Editor for the newspaper le Prétoire was arrested by two secret services officers and detained for 4 hours. The State security officials accused him of being in possession of information related to the existence of a mass grave following the gun battle between rival groups on 30 April. Then, Saouti Haidara, Publishing Editor for the daily l’Indépendant was arrested on 16 May before being released hours later.
The IFJ calls on the authorities in Mali to allow journalists to do their work without any form of intimidation, saying that they have an essential role to play in nation building. The Federation adds that the transition period Mali is going through requires that the public be informed as accurately as possible, all divergent views receive fair hearing. .
For more information contact the IFJ: 221 33- 867- 95- 86/87
The IFJ represents more than 600.000 journalists in 134 countries