Burundi extends BBC, VOA bans as media crackdown continues

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Burundi’s government has extended a ban on media organisations the BBC and VOA while increasing the extent of restrictions against journalists in the country.

The two broadcasters were first banned in May last year and president of the National Council of Communication, Nestor Bankumukunzi, on Friday announced the ban has been extended indefinitely. Journalists in the country – both foreign and domestic – are also banned from providing the organisations with information.

Burundi expands media clampdown

Both the BBC and VOA have condemned the indefinite ban against their broadcasts and publications. The BBC News Press Team took to Twitter to express its disappointment, saying “the unwarranted decision of the Burundi government to ban the BBC and suspend indefinitely Voice of America strikes a serious blow against media freedoms.”

The two organisations were initially banned for six months in May 2018.

The BBC was banned after one of its Africa Eye documentaries accused Burundian security services of detaining and torturing people in secret. In the case of VOA, Burundi accused the US publication of continuing to employ Patrick Nduwimana –  a journalist who opposes the country’s government.

Nduwimana is wanted by authorities in Burundi for alleged involvement in violence that led to an attempted coup in May 2015.

Featured image: By Unknown – [1]., Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11338482

About Aaron Brooks

Aaron Brooks is a UK journalist who wants to cut out the international agendas in news. Spending his early years in both England and Northern Ireland he saw the difference between reality and media coverage at an early age. After graduating from the University of Chester with a BA in journalism, his travels revealed just how large the gap between news and the real world can be. As Editor-in-Chief at East Africa Monitor, it’s his job to provide a balanced view of what’s going on in the region for English-speaking audiences.