Aluta Continua! Burundi bans BBC and VOA Media Stations

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Just recently, three teenage schoolgirls in Burundi have been sent to prison to await trial for scribbling on a picture of President Pierre Nkurunziza. Now, the authorities in Burundi have banned all journalists from working for the BBC and the Voice of America in Burundi.

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Burundi’s National Media Council has suspended FM radio broadcasts of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the Voice of America (VOA), saying the foreign media houses were peddling lies in their coverage of the country. 

The media council chairman, Nestor Bankumukunzi said BBC and VOA had violated principles of balanced journalism and verification of information provided by sources. 

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BBC was faulted for airing a television documentary alleging security services were running a string of secret torture chambers to crush opposition’s spirit. Bujumbura dismissed the story as false. 

The National Council of Communications said it was forbidden for any journalist, Burundian or foreign, to provide directly or indirectly any information to the broadcasters.

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It described as a lie a BBC documentary broadcast last year about killings by the security forces in a secret house in the capital, Bujumbura. The Burundian authorities said the documentary violated media law. The BBC has previously said it stands by its journalism.

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It has condemned the ban, calling it “a serious blow against media freedom”. “We believe it is vital for people around the world to have access to impartial, accurate and independent journalism, including the 1.3 million people in Burundi who currently rely on BBC News,” it said in a statement. BBC broadcasts have already been suspended in Burundi for the past year.

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