Burkina Faso suspends French news channel over report on rebels

  • The move is the latest escalation in a crackdown on French-owned foreign media by the Burkinabe government in recent years.

Burkina Faso’s military government has suspended a French television news channel for a report on armed groups’ activity, which it said lacked objectivity and credibility, the latest escalation in a crackdown on French media.

Relations between Burkina Faso and its former coloniser France have soured since frustrations over worsening insecurity spurred two military takeovers last year.

French television channel La Chaine Info (LCI), of private broadcaster TF1, was suspended for three months from June 23 over a report aired at the end of April, according to a statement by the national media regulator published on Thursday.

The media regulator said the report overplayed the scale of the insurgency and “seditiously” exposed “unverified” failures in Burkina Faso’s military response to the crisis.

TF1 did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The government has already suspended French-funded broadcasters Radio France Internationale and France24 for allegedly giving voice to armed groups active across the Sahel region south of the Sahara.

In April, two French journalists working for newspapers Le Monde and Liberation were expelled from the country.

Burkina Faso is one of several West African countries grappling with conflict spearheaded by groups linked to al Qaeda and ISIL (ISIS) that took root in Mali in 2012.

The violence has killed thousands of civilians and displaced over six million people as militants have gained ground, according to the United Nations.

French troops pulled out of neighbouring Mali last year, ending a decade-long military support after relations deteriorated between the two countries.

Both Burkina Faso and Mali are ruled by military governments that seized power by force in the last two years, promising to improve security and burning bridges with their traditional allies.

Since the army seized power in Burkina Faso last September, several demonstrations have taken place calling for the departure of the French ambassador, as well as the French troops.

Protesters attacked the French cultural centre in the capital Ouagadougou in October.

Source: Al Jazeera