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Annie Risemberg

Bamako, Mali
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About Annie
I am a freelance journalist based in Bamako, Mali since 2018. I studied fine art photography in college, primarily working in documentary photography, and began work as a photojournalist in 2016. I was trained in video journalism in 2020. I have been primarily working as a radio and text journalist since 2022 as Mali's media space has shrunk and foreign journalists have been prohibited from reporting. As of 2023, I have dual American-Malian citizenship and hope to get back to my true love, video, over the course of the year. I am available for video, photo, and radio assignments and cover breaking news, politics, and culture, but also love to do more in-depth work diving into some of the less-covered stories that lie under the surface. 

I received a 2019 National Geographic Explorer grant for my long term photo and video project on Sufism in Mali.
Languages
English French
Services
Video Package (Web / Broadcast) Audio package (Radio / Podcast) Interview (Video / Broadcast)
+8
Skills
Politics Social Cultural
+1
Portfolio

The AI project pushing local languages to replace French in Mali’s schools

01 Feb 2024  |  Rest of World
In Mali, the government has replaced French with 13 local languages in schools, creating a need for new educational materials. RobotsMali, a government-backed initiative, has used AI tools like ChatGPT and Google Translate to create over 100 books in Bambara, Mali's most widely spoken language. The initiative, supported by organizations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and UNESCO, aims to improve education and preserve local languages. While some, like 13-year-old Abdoulaye Nimaga, worry about the limitations of learning in a local language, experts believe it will help children learn better and reduce dropout rates.

Mali Rights Commission Condemns Restrictions on Free Press

31 Oct 2023  |  www.voanews.com
Mali's National Human Rights Commission condemned the suspension of Joliba TV by the High Authority of Communication, citing concerns over press freedom and freedom of expression. Joliba TV's director, Mohamed Attaher Halidou, had criticized the ruling military government for attacks on these freedoms. The HAC accused Halidou of defamatory remarks and has previously taken actions against foreign media. Maison de la Presse called for the reconsideration of Joliba TV's suspension.

Amid UN Withdrawal, Conflict in Northern Mali Resumes

15 Sep 2023  |  voaafrica.com
In Northern Mali, conflict has resumed following the withdrawal of the United Nations mission, with the Coordination of Azawad Movements (CMA) declaring war on the Malian government. Islamist insurgents continue to cause havoc, including a recent attack on a passenger boat killing at least 49 people. The only commercial airline, Sky Mali, has ceased flights to Timbuktu due to frequent attacks. Despite these challenges, the Malian army maintains control over Bourem. Calls for dialogue between the government and CMA have been complicated by the CMA's refusal to engage, citing the transfer of MINUSMA camps solely to the Malian state.

US Sanctions Malian Officials Over Wagner

28 Jul 2023  |  www.voanews.com
The United States imposed sanctions on several top Malian officials for facilitating the activities of the Wagner Group, a Russian mercenary unit. Mali's military government criticized the sanctions, calling them contrary to international law. The U.S. Department of the Treasury announced sanctions against Mali's defense minister and other high-ranking military officials. The sanctions are seen as symbolic, signaling the U.S. does not recognize the Malian junta as a legitimate government. The junta has support in southern Mali but has faced criticism and censorship for alleged human rights abuses. Despite the sanctions, relations between Mali and the U.S. are not expected to worsen significantly.

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A video report on Mali's slam poetry festival

A short video documentary on Sufism in Mali

West Africa: Mali Decries ECOWAS After Burkina Faso's Army Accused of Massacre

06 May 2023  |  allafrica.com
Mali's military government criticized the ECOWAS chairman for labeling the April massacre in Burkina Faso as genocide. The massacre in Karma, Burkina Faso, resulted in over 100 civilian deaths, with Human Rights Watch reporting 156 killed. Burkina Faso's military leader suggested Islamist militants could be responsible, while rights groups have accused Mali's army and Russian Wagner Group mercenaries of similar acts. Mali and Burkina Faso face tensions with ECOWAS over coups and delayed elections, with sanctions imposed and both countries suspended from ECOWAS and the African Union. Mali plans a referendum on a new constitution as a step towards elections next year.

Mali Decries ECOWAS After Burkina Faso’s Army Accused of Massacre

05 May 2023  |  voanews.com
Mali's military government criticized the ECOWAS chairman for labeling an April massacre in Burkina Faso as genocide without proof. Burkina Faso’s military leader suggested militants could be responsible for the attack that killed over 100 civilians. Human Rights Watch reported 156 deaths, while Mali and Burkina Faso face accusations of human rights abuses and potential collaboration with Russia's Wagner Group. Tensions with ECOWAS have escalated due to sanctions following military coups, with Mali, Burkina Faso, and Guinea suspended from ECOWAS and the African Union pending a return to constitutional rule.

Mali Military Helicopter Crashes in Capital

24 Apr 2023  |  allafrica.com
A military helicopter crashed in a residential area of Mali's capital, Bamako, on Saturday after returning from an operational mission. The Malian army confirmed the crash on their official Facebook page. The incident occurred amid ongoing battles against an Islamist insurgency in Mali. France had intervened in 2013 but withdrew in 2022 due to concerns about Mali's military government's collaboration with Russian Wagner Group mercenaries. Mali has been under military rule since a 2020 coup. The interim President Assimi Goita's chief of staff, Oumar Traore, was recently killed in an ambush. Another attack by suspected Islamists targeted a military base in central Mali on Saturday morning. The number of casualties from the helicopter crash has not been disclosed.

Mali Military Helicopter Crashes in Capital

22 Apr 2023  |  voanews.com
A military helicopter crashed in a residential area of Bamako, Mali, after returning from an operational mission. The crash occurred at 1:10 p.m. and was confirmed by the Malian army on their official Facebook page. Mali has faced an Islamist insurgency since 2012, which has spread throughout the country. France withdrew its intervention forces in 2022 due to concerns about Mali's military government's collaboration with Russian Wagner Group mercenaries. Mali has been under military rule since a 2020 coup. Recently, the chief of staff to interim President Assimi Goita, Oumar Traore, was killed in an ambush, and a military base was attacked by suspected Islamists. The number of casualties from the helicopter crash has not been disclosed.

Mali Orders French NGOs to Stop Activities

28 Mar 2023  |  www.voanews.com
Mali's military government has ordered all NGOs financed by France to cease operations in the country, following France's suspension of development aid over concerns about Mali's alleged collaboration with Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group. The Malian government's statement, broadcast on state TV and social media, accuses France of using aid as a means of manipulation and supporting terrorist groups, without providing evidence. Relations between France and Mali have deteriorated, with the French ambassador expelled and French troops withdrawn. Human rights abuses by mercenaries associated with the Malian army have been reported, while France has been a significant supporter of humanitarian NGOs in Mali.

Mali: Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov Visits Mali

08 Feb 2023  |  allAfrica.com
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pledged continued military support to Mali during a visit, highlighting past deliveries of fighter jets and helicopters. The partnership between Russia and Mali has grown since France's military withdrawal, raising Western concerns over the involvement of Kremlin-backed Wagner Group mercenaries. Both Lavrov and Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop criticized U.N. efforts to investigate human rights abuses in Mali, labeling them as 'neocolonial.' The visit is part of Russia's broader strategy to strengthen ties with African nations amid Western sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov Visits Mali

07 Feb 2023  |  www.voanews.com
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, during a visit to Mali, pledged continued military support to the Malian armed forces, highlighting past deliveries of aircraft that bolstered Mali's capacity to combat terrorist threats. The partnership between Russia and Mali has grown following France's military withdrawal and has raised Western concerns, particularly due to Mali's cooperation with Russian Wagner mercenaries, who have been accused of human rights abuses. Both Lavrov and Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop criticized U.N. efforts to investigate these abuses as 'neocolonial.' Amidst ongoing violence in Mali, Russia aims to strengthen ties with African nations, offering to supply Mali with wheat, fertilizers, and oil products.

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov Visits Mali

07 Feb 2023  |  www.voanews.com
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov pledged continued military support to Mali, highlighting past deliveries of fighter jets and helicopters. The partnership between Russia and Mali has grown since France's withdrawal, raising Western concerns over Mali's cooperation with Russian Wagner mercenaries. Both Lavrov and Malian Foreign Minister Abdoulaye Diop criticized U.N. investigations into human rights abuses as neocolonial. Lavrov's visit is part of Russia's efforts to strengthen ties with African nations amid Western sanctions over the Ukraine invasion.

Mali Lashes Out at Ivory Coast Over Detained Troops

16 Sep 2022  |  www.voanews.com
Mali's military government has rejected Ivory Coast's call for an ECOWAS meeting regarding Ivorian troops detained in Mali, labeling it as intimidation and blackmail. The 49 Ivorian soldiers, arrested in July for allegedly entering Mali as mercenaries, were part of a U.N. support contingent. Mali expelled MINUSMA's spokesperson after he confirmed the U.N. had notified Mali of the soldiers' arrival. Three female soldiers have been released, but 46 remain in custody. Mali's interim President Assimi Goita has indicated that Malian political figures have found asylum in Ivory Coast and is seeking a resolution to the diplomatic crisis. Earlier this year, ECOWAS sanctioned Mali over election delays, but the sanctions were lifted after Mali set a 2024 election date. France has withdrawn its troops from Mali due to concerns over Mali's collaboration with Russian mercenaries.

Timbuktu Is Just a Postcard Away

01 Jun 2022  |  Atlas Obscura
The article discusses the historical city of Timbuktu, Mali, which was once a bustling center of trade and Islamic learning but has become difficult to access due to ongoing conflict and violence. The Islamist takeover in 2012 and subsequent French intervention in 2013 have led to a decline in tourism and displacement of residents. The article highlights the initiative 'Postcards from Timbuktu,' co-founded by Ali Nialy and Phil Paoletta, which allows people to send postcards from Timbuktu to generate income for former tour guides. It also touches on the political instability in Mali, including the 2020 protests, coup d'état, and the military government's decision to delay elections until 2026. The economic hardships faced by Malians, such as rising food and fuel prices and sanctions, are also mentioned. Master calligrapher Boubacar Sadeck, who fled to Bamako during the Islamist takeover, now contributes to the postcard project. The article concludes with a call for peace and normalcy in Mali.

Philly’s Little Africa

05 Feb 2018  |  Roads & Kingdoms
The article discusses the establishment and cultural significance of a West African immigrant community in Southwest Philadelphia, known as Little Africa. It highlights the role of Tasty African Restaurant and other local businesses like Sahara Restaurant, Le Mandingue, and Uncle Musa's Grocery in creating a social hub for Sierra Leonean and other West African immigrants. The community, which began with a large number of Liberian refugees, has grown to include immigrants from various West African countries. The article also touches on the historical ties between Liberia and Philadelphia, the challenges of importing goods from Africa, and the potential for the neighborhood to become an officially recognized cultural district named 'Diaspora Village'. The community's cuisine is emphasized as a vital link to their heritage and a means of bringing people together.
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