Mali's media services go silent over editor's incarceration
By Baba Ahmed, APBAMAKO, Mali--The airwaves in Mali's capital fell silent on Tuesday and newspapers did not print a morning edition in protest over the arrest last week of an editor who published an open letter challenging the salary of the country's coup leader.
March 13, 2013, 12:15 am TWN
Boukary Daou, editor-in-chief of The Republican newspaper, was taken away by agents from Mali's intelligence service on March 6, soon after his newspaper published a letter from an army officer denouncing Capt. Amadou Haya Sanogo's recently decreed salary of US$8,000 per month, an incredibly high salary in the impoverished country. The letter argues that the salary — as much as 26 times what Sanogo earned before last year's coup — is in fact an incentive for future coups.
Sanogo seized power a year ago last March. Faced with international sanctions, he was forced to relinquish control just weeks later, but succeeded in negotiating a golden parachute for himself, including the salary of an ex-head of state. Despite officially stepping down, country watchers say Sanogo remains the power behind the throne, as Daou's arrest seven days ago underscores.
In a statement, Mali's press association said that the “The No Press Day will start on Tuesday, March 12 and will continue until the liberation of Boukary Daou.”
Kassim Traore, the president of the Young Journalists' Organization of Mali said that Daou has refused to disclose the identity of the officer, who penned the letter under the name Capt. Toure.
“The security agents demanded that Daou give the name of his source and Daou refused, which is his duty as a journalist,” said Traore. “It's because he would not disclose the name of his source that they are still detaining him, which is why the leaders of the Malian press have organized this No Press Day in order to free our colleague,” he said.