Media made several mistakes in 2018 referendum vote, says Communication Ministry

In a meeting with media officials, CENI and CNC on October 8th, the Ministry of Communication and Media has said broadcast of hatred messages and political militancy during the 2018 referendum vote are among many other mistakes that were made by media and journalists.

Frédéric Nahimana: “Effective strategies must be drawn up to avoid mistakes in the media coverage of the 2020 elections”

“Some journalists did not go on field to cover the elections not because they lack means,” says Frédéric Nahimana, Burundi Minister of Communication and Media. They could consequently broadcast second hand or false information, he adds.

He says some reporters arrived on the field very late after the vote bureaus were already opened. “There had been coordination challenges of reporters while covering the 2018 referendum vote,” he adds.
Mr. Nahimana says there had been ‘political militancy’ in the coverage of the referendum vote which resulted in the publication of false electoral results.

The communication Minister deplores corruption and broadcast of unbalanced information. “Effective strategies must be drawn up to avoid all those mistakes in the 2020 elections,” he also says.
He adds that a professional communication commission will be established for the 2020 elections to avoid further mistakes.
Mr. Nahimana calls on media officials to supervise their journalists and give them training sessions.

Some participants in the meeting have said that media which committed mistakes in the former elections “should not be allowed to cover the upcoming elections”.

Participants have also suggested that the means to cover the elections should be available early before to facilitate the work of journalists.

Philippe Nzobonariba, Spokesman for the National Independent Electoral Commission-CENI says the political situation in 2018 “was complicated”, therefore media and journalists committed many mistakes.

Nestor Bankumukunzi, Chairman of the National Media Regulator-CNC, says the root causes of the mistakes made in 2018 should be discovered to avoid repeating them in the 2020 elections.

As for Gorgon Sabushimike, Chairman of Nderagakura Radio Station, the budget for the election media coverage should be enough. “Cars for the transportation of journalists in the countryside should be strong and available in time,” he adds.

The meeting was held to discuss the organization of the media coverage of the 2020 elections after evaluating the coverage of the 2018 referendum vote.