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Burkina Faso suspends BBC, VOA for reporting on Army killings

The Burkina Faso military junta has suspended the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and the Voice of America (VOA) radio networks from broadcasting in the country, Al Jazeera reports. 





Al Jazeera said that the two media outfits were banned for two weeks over their coverage of a report on extrajudicial killings.





The two radio networks had accused the army of the extrajudicial killings of civilians, a report that did not down well with the juntas.






In a new report published on Thursday, international organization, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said military forces “summarily executed” 223 civilians. These included at least 56 children, in two villages in February.


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But announcing late on Thursday, the country’s Superior Council for Communication (known by its French acronym CSC) said that “the programmes of these two international radio networks broadcasting from Ouagadougou have been suspended for a period of two weeks.” He added that BBC Africa and the United States-funded VOA had also published the report on their digital platforms.






“HRW’s report contains “peremptory and tendentious” declarations against the army likely to create public disorder,” CSC claimed. He added that it had “hasty and biased declarations without tangible proof against the Burkinabe Army”.





“It stated that the country’s internet service providers had been ordered to suspend access to the websites and other digital platforms of the BBC, VOA and HRW from Burkina Faso.






However, the Burkina Faso’s Communication spokeswoman, Tonssira Myrian Corine Sanou, warned other media networks to avoid reporting on the story.





But reacting to the ban, the network said in a news article that it stands on its ground of the news. It said, “VOA stands by its reporting about Burkina Faso. And intends to continue to fully and fairly cover activities in the country.”






HRW said the “massacre” appeared to be part of a “widespread military campaign” against civilians accused of collaborating with armed groups.






According to HRW, “Soldiers killed at least 44 people, including 20 children, in Nondin village. And 179 people, including 36 children, in nearby Soro village.





Al Jazeera said, “HRW interviewed dozens of witnesses between February and March and analyzed videos and photographs shared by survivors. It also reportedly obtained lists of the victims’ names compiled by survivors. And geolocated eight mass graves based on satellite imagery from March 15.






Recall that last year, Burkinabe authorities suspended French TV outlets LCI and France24. As well as Radio France Internationale and the magazine Jeune Afrique. The correspondents of French newspapers Liberation and Le Monde have also been expelled, Al Jazeera stated.