Code of conduct presented by CNC raises concerns among media professionals

The National Media Regulatory-CNC this Wednesday presented a code of conduct to the Burundian media for the 2020 elections. Some media professionals say they were not consulted during its preparation.

Nestor Bankumukunzi: “Both local and foreign journalists must abide by this code of conduct to prevent what happened in 2015 from happening again.”

“Every media organization operating in Burundi must comply with this code of conduct for the 2020 electoral process,” says Nestor Bankumukunzi, Chairman of the National Media Regulatory –CNC this October 16th after the presentation of its contents. The code of conduct offers three rights and twelve duties to the media and journalists.

It requires them to respect the Burundian Constitution, the Press law and the law governing the CNC. The journalists and media that will cover the 2020 elections must broadcast and publish balanced and accurate information.

On the ground, they will also have to have the press card delivered by the CNC. Of about 1500 journalists working in Burundi, only 500 have already got the press card.
“Others have not yet submitted the required documents,” said Mr. Bankumukunzi.
However, the signing of the code of conduct raises concerns among some media professionals.
Abbas Mbazumutima, Deputy Chief Editor of Iwacu Press Group says it would have been better if media professions had given their views before signing it.
“I cannot understand how CNC prepares a code of conduct for journalists and media without consulting them,” he said, adding that he hopes that suggestions of those who didn’t sign it will be taken into consideration.

The same view is shared by Onésime Harubuntu, Chairman of the Association of Radio Stations broadcasting from Burundi-ABR.
“I don’t see the importance of signing this code of conduct whereas all media organizations must comply with it”, he says.

Among the media organizations present in the meeting, only Iwacu Press Group and Radio Isanganiro didn’t sign the code of conduct.

Nestor Bankumukunzi, Chairman of the National Media Regulatory-CNC, says those who didn’t sign this code of conduct will send their suggestions in five days.

“We will include their suggestions and we hope that they will sign it during the next week,” he says.
Mr. Bankumukunzi also said the code of conduct concerns all national and foreign journalists. “They must abide by it so that we prevent what happened in 2015 from ever happening again,” he said adding that some media made some mistakes.