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Mali bans French channel from TV packages

Mali’s military-led authorities have ordered the removal of television channel France 2 from broadcasting packages for four months over a story on the security situation,…

Mali’s military-led authorities have ordered the removal of television channel France 2 from broadcasting packages for four months over a story on the security situation, according to official documents seen by AFP Thursday.

The move is the latest by the junta to shun former colonial power France after seizing power in a military coup.

Mali’s High Authority for Communication (HAC) criticised a report broadcast on France 2’s evening news in January for “glorifying terrorism” by contrasting “the firepower of armed terrorist groups” with that of the Malian army.

The communications authority accused France 2 of retroactively “justifying” the presence of the French anti-jihadist Barkhane force which operated in Mali until 2022.

French troops withdrew amid deteriorating relations between Bamako and Paris following military coups in 2020 and 2021.

Mali’s junta has since chosen to pivot towards Russia, both politically and militarily.

In a document sent to broadcasters, the HAC also cited “serious breaches” of journalistic ethics aimed at “demoralising the troops and the population”.

In 2022, Mali’s military leaders suspended the widely followed French networks France 24 and Radio France Internationale.

Correspondents from several foreign media were forced to leave, go into exile or suspend work.

The military also seized power in neighbouring Burkina Faso and Niger in 2022 and 2023 respectively, with both introducing measures against the press.

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said in a 2023 report that the Sahel region was in the process of becoming a “no-news zone”.

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