Malian ruling military junta will suspend broadcasts by French state-funded international news outlets RFI and France 24, accusing them of reporting “false allegations”.
In a statement, Mali said it was taking the action because both channels had reported on allegations made by United Nations rights commission Michelle Bachelet and rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW).
Human Rights Watch had alleged that said on Tuesday that Malian soldiers were responsible for killing at least 71 civilians since early December.
Radio broadcaster RFI this week also ran a series of testimonies from alleged victims who claimed they had been tortured by Malian soldiers and suspected Russian mercenaries operating alongside them.
Mali government spokesman Col Abdoulaye Maïga said that “these false allegations” were made in reports on 14th and 15th March,
Relations between Mali and former colonial master France soured in recent months, particularly since the junta fell back on election promises and started working with private Russian fighters in a long-running battle against jihadist militants.
The Mali junta has staged two coups since August 2020 and delayed plans to hold elections in February, prompting sanctions from the 15-member Economic Community of West African States.
It said in the statement that what it called media hype “was a premeditated strategy aimed at destabilizing the political transition, demoralize the Malian people and discredit the Malian army”.
Malian military junta to suspends French radio, TV stations