In what African country can people get brought to court for writing a fable about a fictional president and a female lover who is not his wife. The correct answer is Mali.
The Malian court, which held its proceedings in secret, displayed the government’s enlightened attitude towards free-expression by handing suspended jail terms to the five journalists and one teacher accused of insulting Mali’s president Amadou Toumani Toure.
Toure was re-elected as president last month to a new five-year term. The chances are high that he will feel insulted again before he leaves office.
Before the ruling, the advocacy group, Reporters Without Borders, smartly observed: “Mali was hailed as an example of democracy in Africa, but as this case goes from bad to worse, it is looking more and more like an authoritarian regime, crippled by taboos and dangerous for those who show a lack of respect for an untouchable president.”