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The law in Mali is certainly not perfect, the press is poor and politicians are sometimes irritable. But press freedom is a reality. With around 30 weeklies and half a dozen dailies, the written press provides a good reflection of the country’s political diversity. Stronger still is the network of more than 130 radios, local or national, to be found in each small village – a record in French-speaking Africa. Mali was a pioneer, with the first free radio established in 1991, and its radio stations are now seen as among the best on the continent.
One incident cast a shadow on this picture. Journalists in 2007 had the nerve to publish an essay assignment given by a Malian teacher to his pupils, involving a head of state and his mistress. They were punished with brief spells in prison.
Updated : April 2009