Burundi media regulator speaks for press freedom

The government media regulator authority speaks against administrative officials’ interference with the freedom of journalists.

Burundi has lost its once-promising rating for the freedom of the press

Burundi has lost its once-promising rating for the freedom of the press

The chairman of National Media Regulator (CNC) urges administrative authorities to stop hampering the work of accredited journalists.

In a meeting Ramadhan Karenga, the Chairman of CNC, held this Tuesday with media professionals, he said administrative officials of all ranks “should know that the freedom of the press is guaranteed by the law and the Constitution of Burundi.”

The authorities often meddle in the work of journalists. The interference includes temporary arrest and seizure of materials. Journalists may also be denied to access information in the area under the authorities’ control. Independent journalists are also subject to other forms of harassment.

Mr. Ramadhan says such behaviour infringes on the right to the security of journalist’s life and materials the Burundi Journalist Code of Ethics provides for with “no conditions or restrictions”.

Press freedom in Burundi has been seriously undermined during the crisis that has rocked the country from 2015. Amid the havoc of the failed attempt in May 2015, some media organisations have been destroyed, others closed for their alleged support for either the opposition or the government.

Many journalists have been forced to flee the country. At least one has died while another disappeared in circumstances that are yet to be cleared up.

The ranking in terms of press freedom in Burundi lowered from its 94thto 130thbetween 2008 and 2011. As for the 2017 ranking, the country lost four places from 156 in 2016 to 160 in the 2017 according to Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF). Government authorities say such ranking does not give the exact picture of press freedom in Burundi.