Burkina Faso: The government suspends the broadcasting of the programs of RFI The junta denounced “shortcomings” in the work of the French media in Burkina Faso.
Eight months ago, Bamako took a similar decision. In turn, Burkina Faso decided to suspend the broadcasting of the programs in the country. Emmanuel Ouédraogo, Minister of Communication and spokesperson for the Burkinabe government, justified this decision by the broadcast on 3 December by RFI journalists of “a message of intimidation of the population attributed to a terrorist leader”.
“This media is thus contributing to a desperate attempt by terrorist groups to dissuade the thousands of Burkinabè mobilised for the defence of the homeland, rowing against the current of actions underway to restore the integrity of our territory,” he defended.
The Minister of Communication also added that earlier on 2 December, RFI journalists had broadcast in the press review, “a misleading information, indicating that the president of the transition, Captain Ibrahim Traoré, asserts that an attempted coup d’état has targeted his power. Since 3 November, the Burkinabe government had already expressed its “indignation at the tendentious attitude of the journalists of this media and their propensity to discredit the struggle in which the Burkinabe people are engaged for more freedom and dignity”, he said.
Furthermore, the Burkinabe government wishes “to reaffirm to national and international opinion its commitment to press freedom and freedom of opinion, but also to the public’s right to information” and invites, however, the respect of the rules and principles enacted in this area in Burkina Faso, the government spokesman concluded.
RFI journalists’ reactions
In a statement published on the RFI website on Saturday 3 December, “RFI’s management strongly deplores this decision and protests against the totally unfounded accusations that call into question the professionalism of its stations”.
At the same time, the RFI journalists’ society condemned the suspension “based on an erroneous reading of the work of our journalists”. “We feel it is important to recall that RFI’s priorities are, and have always been, the plurality of points of view and of the people to whom it gives a voice, as well as faithful and scrupulous fieldwork and an unfailing attachment to the freedom to inform,” they said.
This is why “the group France Médias Monde will explore all avenues to restore RFI’s broadcasting, and recalls its unfailing attachment to the freedom to inform and to the professional work of its journalists”, it reads.
Burkina Faso is the second West African country to suspend the broadcasting of the programs on its territory after Mali, another country ruled by military putschists. In March 2022, the latter had accused RFI of broadcasting “false allegations” of exactions committed by the Malian army.