The ruling military junta in Mali has launched a procedure to suspend broadcasts by French state-funded international RFI radio and France 24 television, accusing the news outlets of reporting “false allegations” of abuse by the Malian army.
The allegations were made by the head of the United Nations rights commission Michelle Bachelet and rights group Human Rights Watch, then reported in news reports by RFI and France 24 this week, the junta said in a statement published on Thursday.
Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday that Malian soldiers were responsible for killing at least 71 civilians since early December.
The Mali junta has staged two coups since August 2020. 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.”
The two outlets were still on air in Mali on Thursday morning. The junta did not give details of the procedure, or say when broadcasts would be suspended. France’s AFP news agency previously reported the suspension had already taken effect.
France Medias Monde, the state-owned holding company that counts France 24 and RFI among its subsidiaries, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.