Burkina Faso suspends France’s RFI public radio for airing ‘terrorist propaganda’

Burkina Faso suspends France’s RFI public radio for airing ‘terrorist propaganda’

Burkina Faso has ordered “the immediate suspension and until further notice” of Radio France Internationale (RFI), a French public radio, accusing it of having relayed an “intimidation message” attributed to a “terrorist leader.”

Following the announcement by the Burkinabe government on Saturday (3 November), RFI protested the ban, calling Burkina Faso’s accusations unfounded.

By having relayed this message, RFI “is thus contributing to a desperate manoeuvre by terrorist groups to dissuade the thousands of Burkinabeans mobilized in defense of their country,” said a statement signed by the government spokesman, Jean Emmanuel Ouedraogo.

Early last week, the Al-Qaeda-affiliated Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims (GSIM) had broadcast a video in which it threatened to attack villages defended by Volunteers for the Defense of the Homeland (VDP), civilian auxiliaries of the army, which has just recruited 90,000 in three weeks to cope with the increase in jihadist attacks.

The government also criticizes RFI for having included in its press review on Friday “a misleading information” about the Captain Ibrahim Traore, the country’s new leader, and notes that it had already expressed its indignation at the way the French public radio informs about the developments in Burkina Faso. “In view of the above, the government has decided to suspend Radio France Internationale’s broadcasting throughout the country until further notice,” he added.

The management of RFI has responded by saying that it “deeply regrets this decision and protests against the totally unfounded accusations that call into question the professionalism of its stations.” It added that “the decision to cut off RFI’s broadcasting service was taken without prior notice and without implementing the procedures laid down in the RFI broadcasting agreement drawn up by Burkina Faso’s Higher Council for Communication.“

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