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Burundi revokes BBC’s permit, places VOA on suspension

THE British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) has been banned from operating in Burundi after being accused of producing a documentary that put the country’s reputation at stake.

The Burundi’s media regulator, National Communication Council (CNC), made the announcement on Friday in Bujumbura, the country’s capital.

According to the CNC chairman, Nestor Bankumukunzi, the ban on BBC is effective immediately.  He also said that the Voice of America was suspended for an undisclosed period. 

 

“The CNC has decided to withdraw the operating licence for BBC… and VOA programmes will still be suspended until further notice,” said Bankumukunzi.

“All Burundian and foreign journalists who are in the country are forbidden from reporting or giving information directly or indirectly to the BBC and VOA,” he added.

A BBC 23-minute investigative documentary which was aired in December, 2018 titled “Burundi:Inside the Secret Killing House” was condemned by the Burundi government.

The video reported the killings and tortures of some people by the country’s security forces in a secret house at Bujumbura, the capital city, but the Burundian authorities said the documentary violated media law. On Friday, the authorities withdrew the media organisation operational licence in the country.

The CNC said it was forbidden for any journalist, Burundian or foreign, to provide directly or indirectly any information to the broadcasters of both BBC and VOA. 
The BBC has, however, said it stands by its journalism. It condemned the ban, calling it “a serious blow against media freedom”.

“We believe it is vital for people around the world to have access to impartial, accurate and independent journalism, including the 1.3 million people in Burundi who currently rely on BBC News,” it said in a statement.

According to the 2018 World Press Freedom Index, Burundi ranks 159th out of 180 countries.

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