After Mali, Burkina Faso suspends French broadcaster RFI
Government Of Burkina Faso says that French broadcaster RFI was helping terrorist groups in their plots against the country's citizens
After Mali this year, Burkina Faso suspends the broadcasting of Radio France Internationale (RFI) after accusing it of contributing to a plot by "terrorist groups" to intimidate citizens protecting their country.
In March, the ruling junta in Mali announced the suspension of the broadcasting authorization granted to RFI and France 24, after they published accounts implicating Mali's army in abuses against civilians.
Earlier in March Mali authorities announced removing RFI from the broadcasting channels after the latter reported of alleged violence against civilians in Mali's army bases.
Burkinabe government spokesperson Jean Emmanuel Ouedraogo said in a statement that the French broadcaster helped "a desperate maneuver of terrorist groups" against Burkinabe citizens that are stationed to defend the country, adding that the authorities already protested the broadcaster's publication earlier in November.
One of the world's poorest countries, Burkina has been struggling with militant offensives since 2015. Thousands of civilians and members of the security forces have died and around two million people have been displaced.
Earlier this week, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Support Group for Islam and Muslims (GSIM) released a video threatening to attack villages where pro-government VDP forces are located in the country.
The VDP are forces made up of civilians that undergo two weeks of military training and then are tasked with surveillance or collecting information for the army
"Considering everything that has happened before, the government has decided on the immediate suspension, until further notice, of the broadcasting of Radio France Internationale's programs," the statement noted, adding that RFI was spreading "misleading information" after releasing earlier a report that the country's Junta Captain Ibrahim Traore survived a coup against him.
Cutting off RFI's broadcast "was taken without prior notice and without implementing the procedures... drawn up by Burkina Faso's Higher Council for Communication," the company's management stated.
The government's statement urged the media to "respect the rules and principles laid down in this area in our country" and stressed that it wants to "reaffirm to national and international opinion its attachment to freedom of the press and opinion" and the "public's right to information"
The deterioration in the country's security situation has been used to justify the two coups this year. The first, in January, saw a military junta led by Lieutenant-Colonel Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba overthrow elected President Roch Marc Christian Kabore.
The second, in September, saw Captain Ibrahim Traore come to power as he and his supporters ousted Damiba.
Relations between Burkina Faso and France have been worsening in light of its failure to contain terrorist groups and activities across the country. France has previously occupied the country and ruled it with an iron fist while still intervening in its internal affairs to this day, ruining the lives of many.
It is noteworthy that the UN warned in October that 4.9 million people, or a fifth of Burkina's population, are in urgent need of aid, citing the fact that many "mothers were compelled to feed their children with leaves and salt."
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