GENEVA / MALI PRESS SHUTDOWNS

29-Apr-2022 00:01:40
Mali’s ban on two major international broadcasters operating inside the country is a worrying development and reflects growing regional intolerance towards freedom of expression, the UN rights office, OHCHR, said on Friday. UNTV CH

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STORY: GENEVA / MALI PRESS SHUTDOWNS
TRT: 1:43
SOURCE: UNTV CH
RESTRICTIONS: NONE
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH
DATELINE: 29 APRIL 2022, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

1. Exterior wide shot, flag alley, UN Geneva
2. Wide shot, UN Geneva Press room, podium speaker and large-screen TV showing speakers in room and remotely
3. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson, OHCHR:
“We are deeply dismayed by the Malian media regulator’s decision to definitively suspend Radio France International (RFI) and France24. We call on Mali’s transitional military authorities to reverse this ban and allow independent media to work freely in the country.”
4. Close-up, journalist’s hands typing on laptop, other participants to rear
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson, OHCHR:
“The suspensions were first imposed by the Government until further notice on 16 March, accusing the two broadcasters of airing ‘false allegations’ about reports of human rights violations by the Malian army. On 27 April, the High Authority for Communication announced that those provisional suspensions would be ‘definitive’.”
6. Close-up, journalist’s hands seen typing on laptop.
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson, OHCHR:
“We are seeing a worrying trend in some of the other countries in West Africa as well and this applies not only to freedom of expression and then the work of journalists, but also civic space and civil society as a whole; there appears to be a growing intolerance for dissent, unfortunately.”
8. Med shot, participants working on laptops
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson, OHCHR:
“And we’re seeing journalists going through tremendous risks to try to get the information out there. We’ve spoken quite often about all the misinformation during the conflict, during the current conflict in Ukraine coming from both sides, really, and the important role of journalists and the tremendous risks that they take to be able to get objective, independent information to us.”
10. Med shot, participants seated in foreground, podium speakers and large-screen TVs to rear
11. Close up, masked participant typing on laptop, two other masked participants to her side, and large-screen TV showing podium speaker to rear
12. Close-up, side shot of large-screen TV showing podium speaker in room

STORYLINE:

Mali’s ban on two major international broadcasters operating inside the country is a worrying development and reflects growing regional intolerance towards freedom of expression, the UN rights office, OHCHR, said on Friday.

Highlighting the “pervasive chilling effect on journalists and bloggers” of the situation in the west African nation, OHCHR spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani said that the move against Radio France International (RFI) and France24 was just “the latest in a string of actions” by the military authorities.

“We are deeply dismayed by the Malian media regulator’s decision to definitively suspend Radio France International (RFI) and France24,” Ms. Shamdasani said. “We call on Mali’s transitional military authorities to reverse this ban and allow independent media to work freely in the country.”

Mali has seen two armed ousters in the last two years, the first in August 2020, the second in May last year.

According to OHCHR, the suspensions against RFI and France 24 were first imposed by the Government on 16 March.

Both broadcasters had been accused of airing “false allegations” about reports of human rights violations by the Malian army, Ms. Shamdasani explained, adding that “on 27 April, the High Authority for Communication announced that those provisional suspensions would be ‘definitive’”.

The use of digital surveillance tools has made it increasingly difficult for journalists, bloggers and rights activists to operate safely inside Mali and protect their sources, the OHCHR official said, pointing to the prevailing “climate of self-censorship” among reporters and rights defenders.

“More, not less, scrutiny is needed” of the actions of the authorities, Ms. Shamdasani insisted, her comments coming after some 500 people were allegedly summarily executed in Moura, a village in central Mali, earlier this month.

To date, UN investigators have yet to be granted access to Moura, where Malian Armed Forces accompanied by foreign military personnel reportedly carried out killings and other grave violations. Since the atrocity, OHCHR has continued to document other serious allegations of violations of international human rights law and international humanitarian law in many parts of the country.

Amid ongoing regional insecurity outside Mali and across the Sahel caused by climate shocks, violence linked to competition for dwindling resources and mass displacement, Ms. Shamdasani warned that there was “a worrying trend in some of the other countries in West
Africa as well, and this applies not only to freedom of expression and then the work of journalists, but also civic space and civil society as a whole; there appears to be a growing intolerance for dissent, unfortunately.”

The problem extends well beyond Africa and is particularly relevant ahead of World Press Freedom Day on May 2, the OHCHR official insisted.

“We’re seeing journalists going through tremendous risks to try to get the information out there. We’ve spoken quite often about all the misinformation during the conflict, during the current conflict in Ukraine coming from both sides, really, and the important role of journalists and the tremendous risks that they take to be able to get objective, independent information to us.”
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