Burundi radio station suspended for criticising killings

by AFP

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Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza. A radio station has been taken off air after criticising the government over the killings of dozens of refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo. AFP PHOTO | FRANCOIS GUILLOT

NAIROBI – The director of a Burundi radio station said Friday his outlet is being temporarily taken off air after criticising the government over the killings of dozens of refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

CCIB FM+, which is run by Burundi’s chamber of commerce, had earlier this month aired an editorial lambasting authorities over their response to the deaths of 36 Burundian asylum seekers who were shot during a September 15 demonstration in DRC that also left one soldier dead.

Director and editor Eddy Claude Nininahazwe told AFP the station is being sanctioned for having broadcast, “an editorial that deplored the silence of our government after the massacre of Burundian refugees.”

In a press release, the National Council of Communication called the broadcast “contrary to professional ethics and the law governing the press,” and ordered the station to shut down for three months starting Monday.

Government officials kept mum over the refugee killings, with foreign minister Alain-Aime Nyamitwe making one of the only official comments when he said on Twitter that “explanations are needed”.

Nininahazwe condemned the suspension, saying the station had broken no law.

“We are accused of not having balanced our editorial, which surprises us, because an editorial is our position on a given subject and such commentary is free according to the rules of our profession,” he said.

Burundi was plunged into crisis in April 2015 when President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he would run for a third term in office, which he won the following July.

The violence since then has left between 500 and 2,000 people dead, according to the United Nations and aid agencies, and caused 425,000 Burundians to flee.

Reporters Without Borders ranks Nkurunziza on their list of press freedom “predators” for presiding over the regular arrest of journalists and destruction of independent radio stations. About 100 reporters have fled the country since the unrest started.

Another reporter, Jean Bigirimana has been missing for more than a year.

1 COMMENT

  1. Subject: “Burundi radio station suspended for criticising killings” by AFP Sep 30, 2017
    QUOTE: “NAIROBI – The director of a Burundi radio station said Friday his outlet is being temporarily taken off air after criticising the government over the killings of dozens of refugees in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Another reporter, Jean Bigirimana has been missing for more than a year.” UNQUOTE

    Commentary, 30 Sept 2017 The country is Burundi, which fought and lost uncountable ordinary Burundian for Independence, Liberty, Freedom of Expression. Now, the smart-alecks initiators of the “Independence Struggle” who aroused the emotion of innocent people to give their Lives for Independence, Liberty, Freedom, Education, Wealth, Economic Superiority …. PARADISE on EARTH are saying, to the good people of Burundi, (with straight face) that they were only cleaning the road for their own Happiness, Wealth and Life. And as the saying goes, the good people of Burundi are left holding “empty bag”. If they don’t like it, they can always go to the new dungeon of their new indigenous masters. In a civilized language it is called BETRAYAL >>> not only in Burundi but also in the entire Dark Continent of Africa.
    Grin & Bear It. THE END.

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