In Mali, a journalist stabbed for his critical reporting

Lagos, Nigeria, March 11, 2013–Authorities in Mali must investigate an attack on a critical radio journalist that came two weeks after he received threats warning him to resign from the station, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

The attacker went to the home of Dramane Traore, a presenter for the private opposition station Radio Kayira in the town of Niono, on March 2 and stabbed him on the top of his head, according to news reports. The man had gone to the journalist’s house under the pretext of delivering a letter for the radio station to broadcast and fled the scene after the attack. Traore was treated at a local hospital for head injuries, the reports said.

Traore often provided critical analysis on the political situation in Mali. He frequently covered sensitive issues such as corruption, local government, and the ongoing civil war in northern Mali. Since January 16, insurgent groups in the country have fought a campaign against the government for greater autonomy in the northern region known as Azawad.

“Authorities in Mali must do more to ensure the safety of all journalists,” said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney. “The perpetrators of the attack must be held accountable in order to send a signal that such behavior against the press will not be tolerated.”

Two weeks before the attack, an unidentified man had warned Traore that he would be killed in one week unless he resigned from Radio Kayira and cut his ties with the opposition SADI political party, which was founded by Radio Kayira owner Oumar Mariko, news reports said. It was not immediately clear if Traore was a member of the SADI political party, but local journalists said Radio Kayira’s coverage was in line with the stance of the political party. The station has often reported on opposition-related issues.

Mamadou Diarra, the station’s network coordinator, told CPJ that the attack and the threats were reported to the police and to Prime Minister Django Cissoko. He said the attacker had been identified to the authorities, but police had made no arrests. Bally Idrissa Sissoko, a media aide to the prime minister, did not respond to CPJ’s calls or messages.

Radio Kayira has been the target of threats and attacks since a March 2012 coup. In April, the station’s offices were vandalized and in May, unidentified men burned down the station, according to Agence France-Presse. There have been no prosecutions despite complaints against persisting threats and attacks on the radio’s staff, Diarra told CPJ.

  • For more data and analysis on Mali, visit CPJ’s Attacks on the Press.