Fight against terrorism tests media freedom
With dynamic, professional and diverse media, Burkina Faso is one of Africa’s success stories. The transition that followed President Blaise Compaoré’s departure took place without any major crackdown on the media. The French government now favours extraditing Compaoré’s brother François Compaoré to be tried on a charge of masterminding investigative journalist Norbert Zongo’s murder more than 20 years ago. Defamation was recently decriminalized and is no longer punishable by imprisonment, but can still result in heavy fines or damages that can force media to close. The security situation in the north of the country makes it hard to cover anything taking place there, and the national assembly passed an amendment to the criminal code in 2019 that severely penalizes “false information” and coverage of the security forces that “compromises public order and the conduct of security operations.” This amendment allows the authorities to exercise very close control over reporting and imposes extremely serious restrictions on the freedom to inform, because critical or objective coverage of the military’s fight against terrorism could now lead to heavy fines.
36 in 2019
24.53 in 2019