Friday, July 5, 2019
On Saturday evening, the Mali Media Awards ceremony will take place in Bamako. Now in its third year the ‘MaMAs’ put the spotlight on Mali’s best reporters, promoting ethical and professional journalism as well as better representation of women in the media.

Awards will be given out on July 6 for Mali’s best journalistic productions in seven categories including print, television and citizen journalism. A rigorous selection procedure ensures that only journalists who demonstrate the highest professional standards can win the accolade.

“The MaMAS promote high quality journalism in Mali. We want to have professional and independent content that really reflects the ethics and principles of journalists,” says Tidiani Togola, the CEO of media development organisation Tuwindi.

Twenty-one journalists are still in the running to win one of the coveted awards at the Saturday evening ceremony in Mali’s capital. They were chosen from the 68 eligible applications which were submitted.

‘A winner forever’

Fatimata Touré won a MaMA in 2018 for her blog on life in the north of Mali. She says it gained her recognition in the country’s blogging world and towards her readers. “It was the first time I saw my passion for writing as something that could have a bigger impact,” she says.

Touré hopes her award can inspire other girls and women to take up blogging. She continues to write about her experiences and encourages young girls to do the same. “Bloggers are increasingly visible in Mali and they should keep sharing their passion and interests whether it is about politics, life experiences or discovery,” she says.

MaMA laureates receive long-term support from Tuwindi by being included in a league of awardees. “The MaMAs are not just about the day of the ceremony award. When you’re a part of MaMA, you’re a winner forever,” says Togola.

Gender award

Research by Tuwindi has shown that only 14 percent of people appearing in Malian media are female. This includes journalists and presenters as well as the experts and witnesses they interview. To encourage gender equality in Malian media, the MaMAs have a special prize for journalistic productions that highlight women’s issues.

“Malian media often stigmatise women as victims and reproduce stereotyped gender roles of women as housewives and caretakers. But like in many other countries that are going through armed conflicts, Malian women are the backbone of society. Therefore, they need to be heard and seen in the media,” says Jens Kiesheyer, who coordinates Free Press Unlimited’s work in Mali.

Promoting gender quality is central to Tuwindi’s work. The organisation also monitors representation of women in Mali’s media and has established a label to certify media outlets with a proven commitment to gender equality.