New Burundi journalists’ union raises criticism

On the occasion of the official launch on 3 June of the new journalists union formed by a group of journalists, their colleagues expressed their concerns.

Melchior Nicayenzi, BJA Chairman “We have our organization structure. We cannot post our statutes anywhere and let you photograph them,”

After the suspension of the Burundian Union of Journalists (UBJ) in 2015, some Burundian journalists officially launched on 3 June a new union called Burundian Journalists Alliance (BJA)
Melchior Nicayenzi, BJA chairman said “BJA does not replace UBJ that was suspended in 2015.” He wanders how the new union can replace a union that is not recognized by the Burundian law.
He, however, wants UBJ to win the case opposing it with the Burundian government so that both institutions join forces to fight for the press freedom and journalists’ rights.

Nicayenzi also talked about the case of four journalists of Iwacu Press Group detained since October 2019. He said BJA cannot get involved in justice matters adding that the union closely follows the case. This union aims to strengthen and protect the press freedom as well as the journalists’ rights according to Nicayenzi.

Journalists who attended these ceremonies wanted to know the members of BJA executive committee as well as the statutes governing it in vain. “We have our organization structure. We cannot post our statutes anywhere and let you photograph them, “said BJA chairman.

Journalists who participated in these activities have expressed their concerns. They said they cannot join this union as long as the statutes governing it remain secret.

“I saw the press release of the launch of this union on social networks. I thought it was a joke, “said Antéditeste Niragira, a freelance journalist. According to him, the executive committee should present its vision and mission to those concerned before launching it.

Antéditeste Niragira says it is not worth joining this union as long as it has been founded in secret and its statutes remain unknown. “I don’t understand why they don’t want to show journalists their projects when they are also concerned.”

Alain Mucamanza, working for Radio Culture wonders how a union can be created in secret and the statutes governing it be hidden. He also says he learned its existence through social networks.