Malian Journalist abducted and interrogated for controversial article
On 7th February 2017, the newspaper Le Figaro du Mali published an article on the scandal between the President of the National Assembly of Mali, Issiaka Sidibé and his secretary, Konaté Djénéba Coulibaly. Two days after the article was published, the article's author, journalist Ammy Baba Cissé, was kidnapped in front of the Grand Hotel in Bamako, interrogated for several hours, then finally released. On 10th February 2017, Vice-President Moussa Timbiné, on behalf of the National Assembly of Mali, issued a press release through the official media outlet of Mali (ORTM), denying the accusations set forth in the Le Figaro article. The press release did not, however, condemn Cissé's kidnapping and unlawful interrogation.
In Freedom House's Freedom of the Press 2016 report, Mali is rated as 'partly free' with a relatively open media environment, except in the north, where the perpetual conflict with Islamic insurgents makes the situation dangerous for reporters. Though the media can mostly operate freely, journalists still face threats and intimidation, especially when reporting on politically-sensitive or controversial topics.