African nation bans BBC and suspends Voice of America, activists cry foul

By REUTERS
March 30, 2019 12:14
1 minute read.
Breaking news

Breaking news. (photo credit: JPOST STAFF)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Burundi has banned the BBC and indefinitely suspended Voice of America, moves that campaigners and the international broadcasters described as a blow to press freedom.

The central African nation's media regulator revoked the BBC's license and accused it of airing a documentary that it said was false and damaged the country's reputation. It extended an existing suspension on VOA, accusing it of employing a reporter who opposed the government.

Both broadcasters were suspended, initially for six months, in May last year in the run-up to a referendum that opposition politicians and activists said was designed to extend the president's rule for at least a decade.



At the time it accused both of breaching press laws and unprofessional conduct. They have been off air in Burundi ever since.



"The unwarranted decision of the Burundi government to ban the BBC and suspend indefinitely Voice of America strikes a serious blow against media freedom, and we strongly condemn it," the BBC said in a statement.



The publicly funded British broadcaster aired a documentary last year about what it said were secret detention and torture sites in Burundi. The government dismissed the report and the BBC said it stood by its journalism.



Burundi's regulator on Friday also banned journalists from working for either organization.



"We are alarmed that reporters in Burundi are now forbidden to communicate with VOA and believe these continuing threats to our journalists undermine press freedom in the country," VOA Director Amanda Bennett said.



Hundreds of Burundians have been killed in clashes with security forces and half a million have fled abroad since President Pierre Nkurunziza announced in 2015 he would run for a third term in what his opponents saw as a breach of the constitution. He won re-election.



Last May's referendum overwhelmingly approved changes that could let the president stay in power to 2034 - though the opposition rejected the results and the United States said the process had been marred by voter intimidation.



Burundi ranks 159th out of 180 countries on the World Press Freedom Index 2018, compiled by the advocacy group Reporters Without Borders. Burundi has denied that there are widespread restrictions.

"The withdrawal of the BBC’s operating license and continued suspension of the VOA are further brazen efforts by the Burundian authorities to silence the media," Amnesty International’s Sarah Jackson said in a statement.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Breaking news
April 19, 2019
IDF forces demolish homes belonging to Ori Ansbacher's killer

By JERUSALEM POST STAFF