World Radio Day, opportunity to know media situation in Burundi

This Monday 13 February 2017 is an international day dedicated to radio. It is an opportunity for people to know the situation of Burundi media, says Gabriel Bihumugani, Deputy Head of the national institution which monitors Burundi media-CNC.

Gabriel Bihumugani, CNC Deputy Head "There are 2 public radios and 24 private ones in Burundi."

Gabriel Bihumugani, CNC Deputy Head “There are 2 public radios and 24 private ones in Burundi.”

“This is an opportunity for people to know the number of radios operating in Burundi and the way they are working.

For the radios which were suspended, we would like to inform people how many of them are allowed to resume their activities. For those which are not, we want to point out the reason why they have not been authorized to work again”, says Bihumugani.

Bihumugani also says there are 2 public radios and 24 private ones in Burundi. However, some radios were destroyed during the 2015 political crisis such as Isanganiro, Rema FM, RPA, Renaissance and Bonesha FM. Two of them-Isanganiro and Rema FM- resumed their activities, whereas others are still suspended.

Samson Maniradukunda, Director of Isanganiro, one of the radios which were destroyed says they still have problems. “We still have problems related to the lack of equipment. It was damaged in 2015 and then we managed to replace it. But, it is not yet sufficient. ”

Maniradukunda also says the crisis has made the government lose confidence towards some private media. “For instance, the day for the celebration of unity which is a special day in the country, some media were not allowed to attend the celebration activities”, said Maniradukunda.

“The organisers of ceremonies have the right to make a list of the number of people who should participate in the ceremonies. If you are late and find that they have already had the required number, don’t say they prevented you from entering”, said Bihumugani.

Jean Claude Nkurunziza, Director of Rema FM radio also says they have no sufficient equipment and then calls on the government to assist media as it used to do it before the crisis.

Jean Népo Bironkwa, in charge of programs in Bonesha, one of the radios which are still suspended, said they are now working on line. “This is not an easy task; many people in Burundi have no access to the internet .So, our news cannot reach as many Burundians as we need”, said Bironkwa.

For those radios which are still suspended, Bihumugani said the reason is that they are still prosecuted and they will be allowed to continue when their cases are over.