Mali Political Orientation
Government Type: Republic
Leader: Colonel Assimi Goïta (since 2021, following a military coup)
Political Party: Mali has experienced political instability with multiple coups in the past decade. The most recent coup in 2021 ousted interim President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane.
Political Position: Currently under military rule following the coup.
MBFC’s Country Freedom Rating: 40.65 Limited Freedom
World Press Freedom Rank: Mali 113/180
The 2023 Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index places Mali at 113th out of 180 countries. While Mali boasts a diverse media scene, journalists often encounter significant risks, especially in conflict-ridden regions. The political unrest, marked by two military coups within a year and the 2021 abduction of French journalist Olivier Dubois, highlight the challenges and dangers media professionals face in the country.
Media Ownership and Government Analysis
Former French colonies in West Africa, including Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Niger, and Chad, have been expressing growing anti-French sentiments. Recent military coups and reservations about the continued French military presence in the Sahel accentuate this sentiment. After Niger’s coup, ECOWAS threatened intervention to reinstate President Bazoum, which ABC reports, “Niger junta warned they’d kill deposed president after any military intervention.” Mali and Burkina Faso warn that such action would be deemed an attack on them, and they will respond accordingly.
In Mali, a country known for its liberal media environment, journalists have faced increasing threats since 2012, affecting the media sector. Despite these adversities, Mali boasts a rich media landscape. RSF highlights that the nation has approximately 200 newspapers, over 500 radio stations, and several TV channels. State-run entities, such as ORTM, dominate the scene, broadcasting in both French and local languages. While L’ESSOR leads in print media, private entities offering alternative views are limited. Radio stands out as a primary news source for many Malians, with Pan African Africable TV being notable, though its ownership remains undisclosed.
Despite its diversity, Mali’s media often self-censors, especially when reporting on the military or extremist groups, highlighting the challenges faced even by private outlets. Building on recent actions, for instance, in March 2022, the government restricted news by suspending Radio France Internationale and France 24 broadcasts over alleged misreporting of army-caused civilian casualties.
The overarching influence of state-run media and the self-censorship of private outlets paints a complex picture. This complexity is deepened by political instability, recurring military coups, and threats from extremist factions. Journalists are caught in the crossfire, facing abductions from Islamist militants and media restrictions from military establishments.
Last Updated on August 11, 2023 by Media Bias Fact Check