Burkina junta lifts radio station’s suspension over Niger criticism
Burkina Faso’s junta-led government said one of the country’s most popular radio stations could resume broadcasting on Monday after being suspended for airing an interview deemed “insulting” to Niger’s new military leaders.
Radio Omega was ordered off the air on August 10 but has had the suspension lifted, Communications Minister Rimtalba Jean-Emmanuel Ouedraogo announced in a statement on Sunday.
The government “very carefully examined” the request made by the Burkinabe media monitoring centre regarding Radio Omega, he said.
It had listened to the “argument that ‘the radio team has learned the lessons of this sanction’,” he added.
Radio Omega ran an interview with Ousmane Abdoul Moumouni, the spokesman of a newly established Nigerien group campaigning to return President Mohamed Bazoum to power.
Niger’s elected leader was overthrown on July 26 by members of the Presidential Guard.
Moumouni made “insulting comments with regard to the new Nigerien authorities”, Ouedraogo, who is also a government spokesman, said at the time of the channel’s suspension.
He said the measure was “in the higher interests of the Nation.”
The government remains committed to freedom of opinion and of the press, as well as to the “responsible” carrying out of the journalistic profession, the minister said in Sunday’s statement.
However, he highlighted to media organisations “the requirement of a media discourse that doesn’t compromise the chances of our collective victory against the forces of evil and domination of the peoples of the Sahel”.
Burkina Faso underwent two military coups last year, each triggered in part—as in Mali and Niger—by discontent at failures to stem a raging jihadist insurgency.
It swiftly declared solidarity with Niger’s new leaders and joined Mali in warning that any military intervention to restore Bazoum would be considered a “declaration of war” against them.
Radio Omega is part of the Omega Media Group, owned by journalist and former foreign minister Alpha Barry.
In recent months, the Burkinabe authorities have suspended the French TV outlets LCI and France24, as well as Radio France Internationale (RFI) and expelled the correspondents of the French newspapers Liberation and Le Monde.
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