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Burkina Faso suspends BBC Africa and VOA over Human Rights Abuse Report Coverage

By Oluchukwu Ikemefuna

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Burkina Faso has barred local internet from accessing the BBC and Voice of America. This was after the broadcasters aired a rights report accusing the army of attacks on civilians in its battle against jihadists. 

Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso Bans Foreign News Agencies 

Burkina’s communications authority, the CSC, announced that it had “directed” internet service providers to suspend access to the BBC, VOA, and Human Rights Watch from Burkinabe territory for two weeks. The authority said the decision had been taken because BBC and the VOA had aired and also published reports on their digital platforms “accusing the Burkina army of abuses against the civilian population”.

The CSC stated the report contained “hasty and biased declarations without evidence against the Burkinabe army.”

The authority pointed to a news agency as an example. The agency stated 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. 

Burkina Faso Suspension of Foreign News Reduces Accurate News

The country has been battling attacks from groups linked to Al-Qaeda and Islamic State since a jihadist insurgency swept in from neighboring Mali in 2015. Since then, around 20,000 people have been killed in Burkina Faso and around two million forced to flee their homes.

VOA said on Friday it had sought reactions to the HRW report “from several Burkinabe officials” but had received no response and intended “to continue to fully and fairly cover activities in the country.”

A BBC stated that “the suspension reduces the BBC’s ability to reach audiences with independent and accurate news. We will continue to report on the region in the public interest and without fear or favour.” 

Conclusion

Also, the UN Human Rights Office said it was “concerned” about the suspension. The UN said in a statement, “Restrictions on media freedom and civic space must stop immediately.”

The CSC warned other media they could face sanctions if they continued spreading such news.

Under Traore, the junta has distanced Burkina Faso from France, which ruled the country until 1960, and has already targeted a number of French media outlets. 

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Abdullahi Kafayat
Abdullahi Kafayat

Abdullahi Kafayat is an enthusiastic writer interested in the tech world. She's a graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University and has a BSc in Chemistry. You can reach her at Kafayatabdullahi17@gmail.com.

Articles: 260

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