Burkina Faso: Suspension of News Media Worrisome

burkina faso

Burkina Faso‘s suspension of news organisations for their coverage of alleged military killings of civilians is deeply troubling.

Development Diaries reports that Burkina Faso’s military junta has banned a total of 13 international media in the West African nation over coverage of a Human Rights Watch report about an alleged massacre by the army.

According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), what these media outlets have in common is their coverage of subjects linked to Burkina Faso’s fight against terrorism or the presence of tension within the army.

We also understand that gag on media is not exceptional to international media outlets as two journalists critical of the junta were conscripted into the army’s fight against terrorism in November 2023.

It is also on record that on 10 August, 2023, the government cut off Radio Omega’s signal for a 30-day period in response to the station airing an interview featuring a critic of the military regime in neighbouring Niger.

Such actions severely undermine press freedom and hinder the public’s right to access vital information.

Analysts have given several reasons for the junta’s crackdown on press freedom, one of which is to stifle criticism over its inability to curb terrorism.

The junta’s attempt to silence the truth and muzzle dissenting voices only worsens the suffering of innocent civilians caught in the crossfire.

It is deeply concerning that instead of addressing the legitimate concerns raised by the media regarding military killings of civilians, the junta has chosen to suppress information and stifle accountability.

The suspension of media outlets is not only a direct attack on journalists but also a grave injustice to the people of Burkina Faso, who have the right to access accurate information about the ongoing crisis.

In times of conflict and turmoil, reliable journalism is crucial for informing the public, exposing human rights abuses, and holding those in power accountable for their actions. But by censoring the press, the junta is not only denying the people of Burkina Faso their right to information but also perpetuating a climate of fear and oppression.

Development Diaries calls on the junta to immediately lift the suspension of media outlets and respect the citizens’ fundamental right to freedom of expression.

Photo source: Reuters/Vincent Bado


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