A year after Mali banned France 24 from broadcast in the country, the military government of Burkina Faso has followed suit, removing the French state-owned channel from TV screens, citing security reasons.
This comes four months after the broadcast license of another French-owned radio station, Radio France Internationale (RFI), was suspended by the government after allegations of “amplifying terror content”.
Burkina Faso has been suffering from different forms of insecurity. More than two million people have fled their homes in the country, thousands of civilians, soldiers, and police have been killed, and about 40 per cent of the nation is no longer under government control.
In a statement released by the spokesperson for the military government of Ibrahim Troure on March 27, the Burkina government said the measure to ban France 24 was taken after the media house conducted an exclusive interview with the leader of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM).
This month the news channel aired 15 seconds of the interview with Yezid Mebarek, also known as Abu Ubaydah Yusuf al-Anabi, who claimed the title of “emir of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb” (AQIM) in 2020 after a French raid killed his predecessor.
The government criticized the interview’s broadcast, calling it “unethical” and “insensitive” to the suffering of the thousands of citizens who lost their lives and their homes as a result of jihadi terrorism in the Sahel.
“This organization, needs to be reminded, a supporter of jihadist terrorism, is the perpetrator of heinous crimes that shock the human conscience and have claimed thousands of victims around the world,” the statement said.
According to the statement, France 24 provided the terrorists with a platform for the dissemination of hate speech and helps them gain support for their terrorist activities.
The statement said the government of Burkina Faso will stay “uncompromising in defending the vital interests of our people against all those who would play the megaphones in the amplification of terrorist actions and hate speech and of division carried out by these armed groups.”
The statement read: “Therefore, responsibly and in the interest of the Nation, the Government has decided to suspend sine die (without date for review) the broadcast of France 24 programs throughout the national territory.”
Reacting to the statement, the management of France 24 said it deplored the ban and characterized the charge of unprofessionalism by the Burkina government as “unfounded”.
The station has been referred to as “a communications agency for these terrorists” by the Burkina Faso government, which has outraged the media outlet, the media said.
A diplomatic rift has recently developed between Burkina Faso and the nation that was once its colonial master. The country has asked French troops to leave the country but it said that was not to harm its relationship with France.
Anti-French sentiments have continued in Burkina Faso despite the official ending of the French operations in the country.
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