On the occasion of the first anniversary of the kidnapping of French journalist Olivier Dubois in Mali. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) calls on the Malian and French authorities to redouble their efforts to obtain his release, and to do everything possible to prevent him from spending a second year as a hostage, cut off from the world.
What, if anything, does Olivier Dubois are you aware of the war in Ukraine, the tension between France and Mali and the French presidential election? How has Dubois, addicted to information like most journalists, been spending his days since his kidnapping in northeastern Mali on April 8, 2021?
Does Dubois still have access to the messages sent by his family and friends and disseminated by Radio France Internationalenow that Mali has banned the broadcasting of this French public radio and that France 24 TV news channel? Most of the questions Dubois’ family and friends have been asking for the past year remain unanswered.
Amidst many unknowns about his fate and whereabouts, a video released on March 14 by his captors, the Support Group for Islam and Muslims (JNIM), a coalition of armed groups affiliated with Al-Qaeda, brought some comfort. In this video, Dubois urged his supporters to continue campaigning on his behalf and urged the French government to call for his release. This was Dubois’ first video since the one released on May 5, 2021, a month after his abduction. This journalist, who was based in Mali as a correspondent for three French publications, Release, Point and Young Africais the only French citizen currently held hostage in the world.
“After a year of captivity for Olivier Dubois and an unbearable wait for his loved ones, the evidence of life recently made public gives us reason to hope,” said RSF Secretary General Christophe Deloire. “It shows us that he there is a way for him to regain his freedom. We call on the Malian and French authorities to redouble their efforts to prevent this journalist from spending a second year as a hostage. His release is a matter that must transcend current diplomatic tensions and political divisions. And it must be a priority for whoever will be the president of France after this election..”
20 French cities in the countryside
For a year, RSF has campaigned tirelessly to draw attention to the fate of Dubois and, on March 7, his portrait was projected on the side of the Pantheon in Paris, a symbol of the ideals of freedom and truth.
Demonstrations of support for Dubois took place in several French cities, and many cities enlisted themselves in a campaign on his behalf. It all started in Paris on July 16, 2021 when – as he completed his first 100 days in captivity – a large banner in support of Dubois was hung at the entrance to the town hall in the 10th arrondissement.
Since then, 20 other French cities have shown their support for Dubois by means of a banner or a poster. Today, Montpellier and Toulouse will join Paris, Marseille, Lyon, Nice, Avignon, Bayeux, Clermont-Ferrand, Lille, Nantes, Bordeaux, Rennes, Reims, Tours, Pau, Fort-de-France, La Rochelle, Aurillac and Périgueux .
Mali is ranked 99th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2021 World Press Freedom Index.