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Mali20 November 2003

Three radio journalists provisionally freed

Amadou Chérif Haïdara, Mamoutou Traoré and Gata Bah, of the independent station Radio Kayira, were provisionally released from prison without bail on 18 November. The date of their trial was not set.

They had earlier this month broadcast a programme in which village officials criticised the seizure and sale of their cattle by bailiffs because of debt. The bailiffs who were named then had the radio station’s equipment seized and the three journalists were jailed and charged with incitement to violence, as well as insults and slander.


Three journalists arrested after broadcasting interview

Reporters Without Borders strongly condemned the arrest last week of three radio journalists who broadcast interviews with peasants on Radio Kayira, based in Segou (north of Bamako), and were then accused of defamation and insults.

"Mali has one of the best press freedom records in Africa, with no major violations recorded for several years," said secretary-general Robert Ménard. "The three reporters were simply doing their job and we call on the authorities to release them at once and drop the charges against them."

The journalists - Mamoutou Traore, Gata Bah and Amadou Cherif Haïdara - last week broadcast over Radio Kayira, which is close to the African Solidarity for Democracy and Independence (SADI) party, a programme in which peasants criticised local bailiffs for misapplying the law to their disadvantage. The bailiffs then went to the radio station and seized equipment without warrants. It was returned after the station protested but at the bailiffs’ request, two of the journalists were arrested on 28 October and the third on 31 October.

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