|Official Country Name:||Republic of Mali|
|Region (Map name):||Africa|
In 1991, student riots led to an end of one-party rule in Mali. The establishment of mainstream constitutional politics was followed by laws establishing freedom of the press. Mali has about 10 daily newspapers, more than 15 weekly or twice-weekly newspapers, and about six monthly or twice-monthly publications.
There is a government-owned newspaper, L'Essor, a daily founded in 1949 that has a circulation of about 3,500. Another daily, Les Echoes, founded in 1989, is allied with the ruling party and has a circulation of about 30,000. The lone news agency, Agence Malienne de Presse et Publicite (AMAPP), is controlled by the Ministry of Culture. Independent daily newspapers include Le Ma-lien, Nouvel Horizon and La Republicain, founded in 1992. Weeklies include 26 Mars, founded in 1998, and Concord.
An important factor in the growth of independent newspapers in Mali was the creation by Malian journalists of independent associations such as The Network of Economic Journalists of Mali, and an association of press editors as well as the establishment of a national commission for issuing press cards. Moreover, the Union Nationale des Journalistes du Mali (National Journalists Union of Mali) is an active sentinel and advocate for Malian journalists that constantly speaks out on behalf of harassed colleagues.
Most newspapers are published in French, Mali's official language, though some publish in Arabic and Bambura—the language spoken by more than 80 percent of the population. Literacy is low, about 31 percent for Mali's more than 10.5 million citizens.
Libel laws remain on the books in Mali, although the government has abolished prison terms for "ordinary libel." However so-called "offences" against the head of state, ministers and public institutions are punishable by a three-to 12-month prison sentence.
Despite this, and because of a flourishing and diverse independent press, Mali remains one of Africa's vanguard states for press freedom.
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The Europa World Yearbook 2001. London: Europa Publications, 2001.
International Journalists' Federation, "Mali Press: Overview," 2001. Available from http://www.ijnet.org/Profile/Africa/Mali/media.html .
Nyamnjoh, Francis B., "West Africa: Unprofessional and unethical journalism," Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, 2000. Available from http://www.fes.de/fulltext/iez/00710a01.htm .
Reporters Sans Frontiéres. "Mali: Annual Report 2002." Available from http://www.rsf.fr .
World Press Freedom Review. "Mali." International Press Institute, 2001. Available from http://www.freemedia.at/wpfr/mali.htm .