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Journalists protest government control of state-owned media in Burkina Faso

Journalists who work for state-owned media in Burkina Faso are protesting excessive censorship and editorial interference by the government and state agencies.

The journalists staged a demonstration on 16 July 2013, in front of the Ministry of Communications' premises in Ougadougou, the capital, to raise their voices against the censorship articles by state authorities.

MFWA

The journalists – who are from Burkina Radio, Burkina Television, Sidwaya Publishers, and the Independent Union of Information and Culture Workers (SYNTATIC) – are angered by the "long practice" of government interference in their work and have sounded a caution to the government to cease these unconstitutional practices.

According to the Media Foundation for West Africa (MFWA)'s monitor in the country, the demonstration was triggered by a recent directive from Adama Barro, the chief director of the Ministry of Communications, to edit a final news story about a 29 June opposition demonstration, which was marred by some police officers.

MFWA

Following the order, the ministry's edited story came without images and interview extracts of the opposition leader and organiser of the demonstration, Zéphirin Diabré, the monitor reported.

According to the journalists, "henceforth [journalists] will not subject themselves to the dictates of politicians since it is against the rules of ethics and professionalism.” The government's interference has caused non-state institutions and individuals from inviting the state-owned media to cover their events, they said.

The Ministry of Communications has since denied these allegations.

The MFWA stands in solidarity with the journalists to demand that the Burkinabe authorities desist from the practice of censoring the media, as it is against the country's Constitution (Article 8) which guarantees "the freedom of the press."

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
What other IFEX members are saying
  • Burkina Faso state media journalists protest censorship

    It was the first time that journalists from state-run media have publicly broken their collective silence over what the public has long believed to be entrenched practices of editorial direction and control by official censors. The show of discontent was the latest in a series of recent demonstrations by various segments of society opposing government policies and protesting the standard of living, according to news reports.

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