The Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA) strongly condemns the act of vandalism on a vehicle belonging to journalist Malick Konaté and calls for thorough investigations into the incident leading to prosecution of the perpetrators.
“Two hooded individuals on a motorbike just smashed my windshields and fled,” Konaté, Managing Editor of Horon TV, a media outlet in Bamako (capital city of Mali), posted on his Facebook wall on June 4, 2022.
The post showed pictures of the journalist’s car with front and rear windows destroyed. The incident occurred at the Horon TV media premises, while the journalist was in his office.
Konaté has filed a complaint with the police and says investigations are underway.
“I filed a complaint at the Court of First Instance of District VI. I could not imagine that a journalist could be attacked for his reporting in a democracy. I am also afraid that my place will be attacked one day, thus condemning 10 years of my efforts to failure. I work with people that I have to protect”, he told the MFWA in a brief exchange.
Although he believes the attack could be related to his work and intended to intimidate him, he said he was at a loss as to what particular action he was being targeted for.
“I don’t know the reasons for this attack, perhaps because of my analyses and my speeches on the various platforms. The supporters of the transition think that I am against the transition and paid by the West to destabilize Mali,” he told the MFWA.
After the complaint, the military dispatched four officers to the premises of Horon TV in what is seen largely as a symbolic act of solidarity. The officers left after staying on the premises for about four hours.
An outspoken journalist who features regularly in discussions on several media platforms, Malick has been attacked and threatened many times in the past.
The recent assault on his vehicle by hooded hoodlums has earned him solidarity from several journalists, socio-political actors and media organizations. The Maison de la Presse of Mali, through its president Bandiougou Danté, denounced the attack and expressed its full support for the journalist. It also urged the Malian authorities to guarantee the safety of journalists in the country.
“We were stunned to learn that on Saturday morning, June 4, the windshields of our good colleague Malick Konaté’s car were destroyed in front of his office. The Maison de la Presse urgently appeals to the authorities to conduct an investigation to find the perpetrators and punish them in line with the law. The authorities are advised to ensure that this action is checked and does not lead to an escalation of violence against journalists,” said the President of the Malian Maison de la Presse in his message.
The MFWA also expresses full support for Malick Konaté and condemns the attack in no uncertain terms. We strongly urge the Malian authorities to carry out thorough investigations to apprehend the culprits, establish their motives and prosecute them. We also appeal to the authorities to provide appropriate protection for the journalist and his family.