Diploma required to journalists arouse controversy in National Assembly

The National Assembly analyzed on 19 April, a bill revising the law on the press. Article 7 of the bill requires media professional to hold at least a bachelor’s degree in journalism. MPs worry that some journalists will be dismissed.

Nestor Bankumukunzi: "The law cannot be retrospective"

Nestor Bankumukunzi: “The law cannot be retrospective”

Agathon Rwasa, First deputy-speaker of the National Assembly deplores the fact that this new law hits working journalists arguing that law is never retrospective. For him, this could increase unemployment in Burundi. He proposed making some amendments to clarify the issue of non-retroactivity.

As for Pascal Nyabenda, Speaker of the National Assembly, he demands the removal of some articles from the bill namely Article 9 which says that journalists with 10 years of experience with no bachelor degree be dismissed. “It should concern only new recruits,” he says.

MP Fabien Bancinoni indicates that the degree in journalism should not be a requirement arguing that there is no specific school of journalism in Burundi. “First and foremost, there has to be a specific school of journalism prior to demanding professionals to have a journalism diploma,” he said.

As for Nestor Bankumukunzi, Minister of Communication, requiring an academic degree is fundamental. He indicates that the ministry wanted to respond to the concern of a decent journalism. “There are some people who improvise and start working as journalists,” says Bankumukunzi adding that this new law will not concern practising journalists. “The law cannot be retrospective,” he reassures.
The bill was passed unanimously with the recommendation to remove Article 9.

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