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Attacks on the Press in 1997 - Mali

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date February 1998
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 1997 - Mali, February 1998, available at: [accessed 22 January 2018]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

In a continent dominated by almost constant government harassment of the press, Mali continues to serve as a hopeful example for the future. With two notable exceptions this year – the arrest and beating of 15 journalists covering an opposition press conference in August, and the censorship of a private radio station – there has been no organized government harassment of the media. The free press, consisting of 30 print media houses, 35 weeklies, and four dailies, operates without fear of reprisal. Self-censorship is rare, and although the country's press law, with its extremely punitive presumption-of-guilt standard, is one of the most repressive in Africa, it is seldom applied. The legislature has discussed extensive revisions to the law, which was written in 1991, during wartime.

There are an estimated 75-200 stations in the Union of Free Radio and Television Broadcasters, and Mali's radio programming is considered the freest in Africa. The country has 52 radio stations (10 in the capital of Bamako alone), and even the most remote regions of the country receive broadcasts. There is one government television station, and on the 1997-98 agenda for the national assembly are plans to revise the statutes to allow for private-sector television ownership. The country gained access to the Internet in September through the state telecommunications company SOTELMA. Four private companies operate the new network, which will have a capacity of 80,000 lines by the end of 1998.

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