Junta-led Burkina Faso Bans BBC and Voice of America From Airing For Two Weeks

The military junta in Burkina Faso, under Captain Ibrahim Traoré's leadership, suspended the BBC and Voice of America radio services for two weeks in response to their reports alleging the involvement of the army in assaults against civilians during counter-terrorism operations. The government claims the reports were "inaccurate and harmful"

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Burkina Faso Bans BBC and Voice of America From Airing For Two Weeks
Captain Ibrahim Traore

Burkina Faso has suspended the BBC and Voice of America (VOA) radio networks for two weeks following their airing of a report accusing the country’s army of attacks on civilians in its fight against jihadists.

The decision, announced by the communications authority (CSC) late on Thursday, cited a report containing “hasty and biased declarations without tangible proof against the Burkinabe army” aired by BBC Africa and VOA.

The report alleged that soldiers in Burkina Faso’s jihadist-hit north had killed at least 223 villagers, including 56 children, in two revenge attacks on February 25, according to international NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW).

However, Burkinabe authorities have not commented on these accusations.

The suspension of the BBC and VOA comes amid a broader crackdown on international media organizations since Captain Ibrahim Traore seized power in a coup in September 2022.

The CSC also directed internet service providers to suspend access to the websites and digital platforms of the BBC, VOA, and HRW within Burkina Faso. It accused the BBC and VOA of disseminating “disinformation likely to bring discredit to the Burkinabe army” and warned other media outlets against carrying the report.

In September, the junta-led government suspended French media outlet Jeune Afrique in the country after the publication of two articles about tensions within the military. In June, it had suspended French TV channel LCI for three months.

In March 2023, it also suspended all broadcasts by the France 24 news channel a few months after also suspending Radio France Internationale (RFI) accusing both public media outlets of having relayed jihadist leaders’ messages.

The following month the correspondents of French newspapers Liberation and Le Monde were expelled.

The move has drawn criticism from media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF), with Sadibou Marong describing the suspensions as “abusive” and a “flagrant violation of the right to information.”

VOA stated that it had sought reactions to the HRW report from Burkinabe officials but received no response and expressed its intention to continue covering activities in the country fairly.

Burkina Faso has previously targeted several French media outlets with suspensions, bans, or the expulsion of foreign correspondents under Traore’s leadership, signaling a shift away from its former colonial power, France.

Source: AFP

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