Media

CNC to grant and withdraw the press card from journalists

The National Assembly passed yesterday a bill revising the law governing the National Communication Council (CNC). Minister of Communication, Nestor Bankumukunzi told MPs the reform aims at improving the council’s efficiency. This law will allow CNC to grant journalists a professional press card and withdraw it from them.

Minister of Communication, Nestor Bankumukunzi “ reform aims at improving the council’s efficiency”

Minister of Communication, Nestor Bankumukunzi “ reform aims at improving the council’s efficiency”

Under this bill, CNC will review the application files for the professional press card. The models and categories as well as the conditions for withdrawal of these cards will be fixed by the decision of the council.

Some MPs believe that CNC should not have the prerogative of withdrawing the press card from journalists. They say it should rather have jurisdiction.
According to some of them, the bill grants absolute power to CNC. For this, Bankumukunzi said whoever gets their card removed will have the right to complain to the administrative court.” As a way of reassuring them, he said the majority of members of CNC plenary session are journalists. “So, you understand that the decision that will be made will be in accordance with the law,” said Minister Bankumukunzi.

Innocent Muhozi, an exiled media professional, says he is not surprised that this law has been adopted by the National Assembly. For him, the government of Burundi aims to deprive citizens and media actors of their right to be informed. If CNC in consultation with the Ministry of Communication can withdraw the press card from journalists, it is a clear indication that a journalist who relays the information that does not please the government will have their press card taken back by the media regulator. Muhozi says the government aimed to limit freedom of expression that Burundians have acquired for several years.

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