Burkina Faso, a West African country that fell under military rule last year, has recently cracked down on the French news magazine Jeune Afrique.
The country’s military junta suspended the publication for publishing “untruthful” articles that reported tension and discontent within the armed forces. This move marks the latest escalation in a crackdown on French media in Burkina Faso.
According to a statement released by the military junta, Jeune Afrique was accused of seeking to discredit the armed forces and manipulating information to “spread chaos.” The suspension came after the magazine published two articles over the past four days that allegedly contained false information. The government believes that the publication’s intention was to undermine the credibility of the armed forces and create unrest within the country.
Jeune Afrique strongly condemned the suspension, stating that it was an attack on freedom of information in Burkina Faso. The magazine expressed concerns that this decision would further limit access to information in the region, particularly in Burkina Faso. It called on the government to reconsider the ban, highlighting the importance of a free press in a democratic society.
The strained relationship between Burkina Faso and France has been a contributing factor to the crackdown on French media. The country has experienced worsening insecurity linked to a jihadist insurgency, which led to two military takeovers last year. This insecurity has caused tensions between Burkina Faso and its former colonizer, France. As a result, diplomatic officials, including the French ambassador, have been expelled from the country. Additionally, there has been a backlash against foreign media, as the junta has also suspended French-funded broadcasters Radio France Internationale and France24, accusing them of giving voice to Islamist militants in the Sahel region.
Both Radio France Internationale and France24 have denied the accusations made against them. They argue that they have been reporting on the situation objectively and have not provided a platform for any extremist groups.
La Chaine Info, a French television channel owned by private broadcaster TF1, was issued a three-month suspension in June due to the airing of a report on the insurgency that was deemed lacking objectivity by the military. TF1 chose not to provide any comment regarding this matter at the time.
Furthermore, in April, two French journalists who were employed by Le Monde and Liberation newspapers were forcibly expelled from the country.
Liberation expressed their disagreement with the suspension, asserting that the two journalists held impeccable integrity and had all necessary documents in order.
The suspensions of these media organizations, along with the latest suspension of Jeune Afrique, raise concerns about the freedom of the press and freedom of information in Burkina Faso.