JUST IN: Burkina Faso suspends BBC, VOA for airing report accusing army of abuse

Burkina Faso’s media regulator has imposed a two-week suspension on the programmes of BBC Afrique and Voice of America (VOA) after they aired a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report accusing the Burkinabè army of abusing civilians.

Access to the websites and digital platforms of BBC, VOA, and HRW is also suspended within Burkina Faso.

“Accordingly, the BBC and VOA, through their correspondents in Burkina Faso, were instructed by telephone to immediately stop rebroadcasting the offending programme on all their platforms,” state-owned news agency Agence d’Information du Burkina reported on Thursday.

The Superior Council for Communication further warned all local media outlets against disseminating the article, threatening sanctions against violators of the directive.

VOA said in an article published on Friday that it “stands by its reporting about Burkina Faso and intends to continue to fully and fairly cover activities in the country”.

HRW published a report on Thursday accusing the Burkina Faso military of executing at least 223 civilians on 25 February in the north of the country.

In December 2023, the West African nation suspended French daily Le Monde, accusing it of biased reporting.

It also suspended three other international media outlets at varying times last year, including French-language magazine Jeune Afrique, French TV channel La Chaîne Info, and French state-owned media organisation France24. – BBC

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