The International Federation of Journalists
The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) this week jointly expressed concern with the African regional organisation, the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ), about the insecurity faced
by Malian journalists after mutinying soldiers, who deposed President Amadou Toumani Touré, took over the state broadcasting building.
The Union Nationale des Journalistes du Mali (UNAJOM), an affiliate of FAJ and IFJ, said it was concerned about the security of Malian journalists, in particular those working at the Office de Radio diffusion Télévision du Mali (ORTM) who are going through a "very difficult time".
"Much of the equipment such as computers, cameras, personal belongings of journalists at ORTM were grabbed by vandals," said Ibrahim Famakan Coulibaly, President of UNOJOM. "Our colleagues are in a state of total despair".
"It is unacceptable that the security of journalists at the state broadcaster is compromised by the action of the soldiers in taking control of the broadcasts. As a result, Malians have been deprived of information about what is really going in their country when the coup took place. All the journalists have our support, and we hold the leaders of the mutiny responsible for the safety of journalists at ORTOM," said IFJ President Jim Boumelha.
The military are always present at ORTM with their arsenal since Thursday, according to UNAJOM. "Our members are in ruins and their security is very fragile," added Coulibaly, who confirmed that there were no injuries or deaths since the occupation of the Office by military.
"This coup d'état is an unacceptable move against constitutional order and democratic principles which puts the life of journalists and citizens of Mali at risk," said Omar Faruk Osman, FAJ President. "Pressure and threats to the security of journalists must cease immediately and democratic constitutional order which guarantees freedom of the media and journalists' personal right to security must be restored urgently."
The IFJ and FAJ have said they support the moves made by UNAJOM in safeguarding the security of journalists and other media workers, and call for the life, freedom and fundamental rights of journalists be respected.
The journalists' federations urged the African Union (AU) and the West African Economic Community (ECOWAS) to take drastic action to re-establish constitutional order and democratic rule.