BBC closes Burundi bureau after dispute with government
Johannesburg – After failing to reach an agreement with the Burundi government on the airing of programmes the BBC has decided to close its Burundi bureau.
Africa Business Editor Larry Madowo said on Tuesday that efforts to resolve a dispute over a ban on BBC transmissions in March had failed.
“The BBC is closing its Bujumbura bureau and ceasing operations in Burundi. In March, the government banned BBC transmissions and blocked journalists from providing information to the BBC," Madowo tweeted.
The ban by the country’s regulator, the National Communication Council (CNC), followed the organisation accusing the BBC of “putting national cohesion and reconciliation at stake”, the East African reported.
Nestor Bankumukunzi, CNC chairman, said in March that the British media outlet’s operating licence had been withdrawn until further notice.
“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,” added Bankumukunzi.
A 2018 BBC documentary "Inside the Secret Killing House" which documented the killing and torture of opposition members by security forces in secret detention facilities raised Bujumbura’s ire.
Reporters Without Borders ranks Burundi 159 out of 180 on its World Press Freedom Index as journalists critical of the government continue to be imprisoned, tortured and killed.
African News Agency (ANA)