After an outcry from the world of culture, the minister responded. “We never boycott artists,” assured French Minister of Culture Rima Abdul Malak on Friday September 15 on RTL. A reaction which comes after some culture professionals castigated a directive from his ministry. According to them, she would ask cultural organizations to suspend any collaboration with artists from Niger, Mali or Burkina Faso. What the ministry denied on Thursday.
“Today we do not have a visa service operating in these countries for security reasons,” she said, denouncing “confusion” and explaining that it is today “materially” impossible to “issue visas to come to France”.
“There is no question of stopping interacting with artists,” she insisted, specifying that all those “who already have visas and who have tours or shows planned […] will be able to come as expected ". “We never boycott artists anywhere,” she further emphasized, adding that this is neither a “boycott” nor “retaliation.”
Instructions from the Quai d'Orsay to no longer invite artists from Niger, Mali and Burkina Faso: "We never boycott an artist, confusion and incomprehension, it's a security and visa problem"@RimaAbdulMalak, Minister of Culture, in
In a press release published Thursday, the Syndeac (National Union of Artistic and Cultural Enterprises) and its counterparts the AAC, the ACCN, the A-CDCN, the ACDN and the ASN reacted strongly to the message they provide having received on Wednesday “from the Drac”, the regional cultural directorates, and “drafted on the instructions of the Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs”. “This message with a threatening tone asks our members to “suspend, until further notice, all cooperation with the following countries: Mali, Niger, Burkina Faso”,” the unions wrote in their press release.
For the Minister of Culture, “France has always been there to welcome artists in danger”. “We will continue to do it,” she also said. “It is an adaptation to an extremely degraded security context which particularly targets French buildings and French teams in these three countries,” she further justified.
On July 29 and August 6, France interrupted all its development aid and budget support actions with Niger and Burkina Faso. In November 2022, it had already done so for Mali.