Burkina Faso suspends the broadcast of “Jeune Afrique” after articles mentioning tensions within the army

This is a new attack on press freedom in Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso suspends the broadcast of “Jeune Afrique” after articles mentioning tensions within the army

This is a new attack on press freedom in Burkina Faso. The ruling junta announced, Monday evening, September 25, the suspension of “all broadcast media” of the French media Jeune Afrique (paper newspaper, website) after the publication of articles evoking tensions within the army Burkinabé.

For a year, the Burkinabé regime, led by the military after two coups in 2022, has temporarily or indefinitely suspended the broadcasting of several television and radio channels, and expelled correspondents from daily newspapers, particularly French media.

The “transitional government” has “decided with full responsibility to suspend until further notice all Jeune Afrique broadcast media in Burkina Faso as of this Monday, September 25,” wrote the government spokesperson and Minister of Communication, Rimtalba Jean Emmanuel Ouédraogo.

The government justifies its decision by the distribution of “a new misleading article on the website of the newspaper Jeune Afrique, entitled: “In Burkina Faso, still tensions within the army”” and published Monday. "This publication follows a previous article in the said newspaper on the same site", published Thursday, "in which Jeune Afrique alleged that 'In Burkina Faso, discontent is growing in the barracks'", adds the minister.

According to the government, “these assertions made deliberately without the shadow of a beginning of proof have the sole aim of casting unacceptable discredit on the National Armed Forces and beyond all the combatant forces”. “The government will remain intractable with any media actor who puts his pen in the service of interests foreign to those of the Burkinabe people,” the press release continues.

Founded in 1960, Jeune Afrique is a French-speaking pan-African media outlet based in France, which has several correspondents and collaborators in Africa and elsewhere. It is made up of an information website and a paper version published monthly.

RFI, “Le Monde” or “Libération” already targeted

Among the people interviewed by Agence France-Presse in Ouagadougou, some still have access to the website, while others reported having encountered difficulties connecting.

This decision comes almost a year after Captain Ibrahim Traoré came to power in a coup, the second in eight months. In June, the Burkinabe authorities announced the suspension of the French channel LCI for three months, after having expelled the correspondents of the French dailies Libération and Le Monde in April.

At the end of March, they ordered the suspension of the television channel France 24, after having suspended in December 2022 Radio France Internationale (RFI), French public media accused of having relayed messages from jihadist leaders.

Burkina had also suspended for a month, between August and September, the most listened to national radio station in the country, Radio Oméga, accused of having interviewed an opponent of the military regime of Niger, also facing recurring jihadist attacks. This neighboring country of Burkina Faso was also the subject of a military coup in July. Burkina Faso also shares its borders with Mali, also ruled by a junta since 2020

Burkina Faso has faced recurring jihadist violence since 2015, which has left more than 17,000 dead and more than two million internally displaced.