Two Malian reporters of the international online journal Le Monde Afrique, have come under a barrage of threats and intimidations for publishing an investigative story about acts of alleged corruption by leading members of the Episcopal Conference of Mali, (ECM).
On May 31, 2017, David Dembele and Aboubacar Dicko published that the Episcopal Conference of Mali had over US$ 12 million in a bank in a Geneva.
The publication titled Mali: Archbishop of Bamako Stashes Away Millions of Euros in Switzerland named three leading figures of the ECM in connection with the account which the newspaper says has existed for at least ten years.
The publication, according to the MFWA’s correspondent in Mali, has sparked a big scandal in the country. David Dembele and Aboubacar Dicko have since come under a barrage of verbal abuse and threats via telephone from unknown persons who claimed to belong to the Catholic Church.
On June 6, 2017, the managers of the newspaper wrote a protest letter to the leadership of the Catholic Church in Bamako to denounce the threats and insults.
The letter said Dembele and Dicko have been receiving night calls from people refusing to identify themselves or using false names. It added that the two have been threatened on social media by people “describing the publication as satanic, accusing the authors of blasphemy and posting messages that make revelations about their private lives.”
Following the protest letter, the police moved to provide security to Dembele and Dicko as a precaution against possible physical violence.
The MFWA condemns campaign of threats and blackmail against Dembele and Aboubacar Dicko and appeals to the authorities of the Catholic Church in Mali to prevail on their followers to stop threatening the journalists. We commend the police for providing security to the journalists and urge them to proceed to investigate the threats in order to bring the perpetrators to book.