TV, RADIO and newspapers in Mali shut down for a day yesterday in protest over the arrest of an editor who published an open letter challenging the salary of the country’s coup leader.
Boukary Daou, editor-in-chief of The Republican newspaper, was taken away by agents from Mali’s intelligence service last Wednesday, after his paper published a letter from an army officer denouncing Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo’s recently-decreed salary of $8,000 (about £5,360) per month. The average worker’s annual salary has been estimated at $1,500 (£1,000).
The letter argued that the salary – more than 20 times what Capt Sanogo earned before seizing power in last year’s coup – is an incentive for future coups.
Faced with international sanctions, Capt Sanogo was forced to relinquish control just weeks after the coup, but negotiated a “golden parachute” for himself.
Kassim Traore, president of the Young Journalists’ Organisation of Mali, said Mr Daou refused to disclose the identity of the officer who wrote the letter, “which is his duty as a journalist”.
Human Rights Watch has said Capt Sanogo’s forces have been implicated in serious human rights abuses.