BUJUMBURA May 7th (ABP) – The National Media Council (CNC) decided on Thursday May 3, 2018, to suspend the broadcast on the national territory of BBC London and Voice of America (VOA) international broadcasts for six months, and the “Announcements and Advertising” section of the Renouveau newspaper of Burundi” for three months, from May 7, 2018. This was disclosed on Friday by CNC Chairman Karenga Ramadhani, during a press briefing organized on that subject.
The radios “Isanganiro”, “CCIB-FM PLUS”, and Radio France International (RFI) were warned by the same authority.
The BBC and the VOA are suspended “for reasons of breaches of the law governing the press and professional ethics”. According to CNC Chairman, the BBC is sanctioned for ignoring the warning note issued on March 16, 2018, urging it to always take into account the principles of balanced information and rigorous auditing sources, whenever it deals with sensitive information about Burundi. “Despite this remark that was linked to a coverage of “BBC Africa” service broadcast on March 12, 2018, the station recidivated on April 24, 2018 in the “the guest of the week ” program, during which the presenter was not able to bring a Burundian national back to order in the logic and sense of the subject,” said Karenga, noting that this decision also follows a complaint brought to the regulator by the Government of Burundi. The comments of this speaker were considered inappropriate, exaggerated, unverified, defamatory, even undermining the reputation of the Burundian Head of State, ethnic hatred, political conflicts and civil disobedience.
Regarding the VOA, explains the chairman of the CNC, the station violated the provisions on the press law by continuing to broadcast part of its broadcasts using an online broadcast application of a radio station whose frequency had been withdrawn by the CNC since 2017.
He added that “the radio has gone further by allowing itself to recruit lately, a journalist from the same local station that is wanted by the Burundian justice and whose international arrest warrant is in force”. The CNC also accuses the VOA of having disseminated in its editions of April 4, 5, 17 and 26, 2018, information deemed tendentious and contrary to the rules of the profession on the one hand, and relations with the United Nations on the other hand, by its listening report.
The newspaper “The Renouveau of Burundi” is suspended for not having complied with the warning note of April 18, 2018, recalling that in application of its declaration of publication of January 15, 2004, the newspaper is published only in French and not in other languages.
Isanganiro and the CCIB FM PLUS radio stations have been warned for not respecting their specifications signed with the CNC in terms of rigorous verification of sources of information and compliance with the program schedule. The RFI was warned following the “tendentious and deceitful” treatment of the information broadcast on March 21 and April 26, 2018 during which “the journalist and the speaker all freely claimed that the Decree fixing the calendar of the campaign for the constitutional referendum of 17th May 2018 contained a provision that any person who has cast the negative vote is liable to harassment, prosecution and imprisonment “.