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Journalists commended for courageous reporting in face of censorship, attacks

Vendors sell newspapers in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, 21 September 2015
Vendors sell newspapers in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, 21 September 2015

REUTERS/Joe Penney

This statement was originally published on rsf.org on 23 September 2015.

Organisations supporting media development and the protection of freedom of information launch a message of support for Burkinabé media.

The organisations signing this communiqué, all currently engaged in supporting and accompanying Burkinabé media, wish to congratulate Burkina Faso media – and more broadly the people of Burkina – who have shown the greatest courage in recent days when they were seriously threatened.

Despite pressure, threats and attempts to silence them and to prevent them from freely exercising their work of providing fellow citizens with news and information, Burkinabé journalists and media continued to broadcast credible and independent information, notably with their presence on social media, when possible.

Alongside them, civil society actors and human rights activists – who were also seriously harassed since the beginning of the coup – took over the internet and the streets to protest against this blow to the democratic transition, which had started after the popular uprising of October 30 and 31, 2014.

CFI, Deutsche Welle Akademie, Fondation Hirondelle, International Media Support, Internews and Reporters Without Borders wish to again express their support for their partners, all engaged in defending the current transition in their country, especially since the beginning of the crisis. We are with them and encourage them to continue their mobilization and to inform citizens in an independent manner.

We also condemn all forms of violence and threats made against the media and their staff, human rights advocates and Burkinabé citizens.

Here is a list, unfortunately not exhaustive, of abuses carried out against the media and journalists in recent days:

  • The shutting down of transmitters of several radio stations across the country;
  • Radio Omega FM’s motorbikes set on fire in Ouagadougou;
  • The pillaging of radio Savane FM’s equipment (including transmitter and computers) in Ouagadougou;
  • The ransacking and burning of Radio Laafi in Zorgho (a hundred kilometers east of Ouagadougou);
  • Shootings at Mogtedo and Goudri radio stations;
  • An attack on the television station BF1 in Ouagadougou;
  • The taking over of the Radio Television Burkinabè (RTB) by the RSP;
  • The beating of a photographer with the online newspaper Lefaso.net and a journalist with Burkina24.com near the premises of the BF1 television station;
  • The assault of a journalist from the newspaper Sidwaya and the destruction of his camera;
  • The shooting of a correspondent in Ouagadougou for the newspaper Sidwaya in Bogandé;
  • The physical assault of the editor-in-chief of Le Pays in Ouagadougou;
  • Threats and intimidation against several journalists;
  • Surveillance of homes and workplaces of several journalists and media managers;
  • The seizure of two cameras and a car from Droit Libre TV and attacks on several of their reporters.

List of Signatories:

CFI – Agence française de coopération médias

Deutsche Welle Akademie

Fondation Hirondelle

International Media Support

Internews

Reporters Without Borders