The Malian military government is moving to suspend broadcasts by French state-funded international RFI radio and France 24 television channel, accusing the news outlets of reporting “false allegations” that the army killed dozens of civilians.
The allegations were made by the head of the United Nations human rights commissioner Michelle Bachelet and rights group Human Rights Watch. They were then reported in news reports by RFI and France 24 this week, according to a statement by the authorities on Thursday.
Human Rights Watch said on Tuesday that Malian soldiers were responsible for killing at least 71 civilians since early December.
Since August 2020, the Malian military has staged two coups. It said in the statement that the news reports were “a premeditated strategy aimed at destabilising the political transition” in order to “demoralise the Malian people and discredit the Malian army”.
The government did not give details of when the broadcasts would be suspended.
Reuters reports that both outlets were still on air in Mali on Thursday morning.
Relations between the countries have soured in recent months, as anti-French sentiment rises in the Sahel region.
In February, President Emmanuel Macron announced the withdrawal of the French military and Paris-led European force known as Takuba after nearly a decade of fighting against the worsening uprising.