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Tuesday, January 31, 2023

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Burkina Faso Suspends Nation’s Biggest French Broadcaster RFI

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The military government in West Africa’s Burkina Faso has suspended the state-run Radio France Internationale over the issue of false reports and supporting armed groups. 

The government in its statement on Saturday said that the RFI had broadcast a message from a leader of an armed group earlier on Saturday which was threatening in nature. According to the government’s further allegations, the radio broadcast voiced a press report that said Burkina Faso’s President Ibrahim Traore, who came to power through a coup in September, had claimed an attempt of a coup to throw him out of power. 

In view of all of the above, the government has decided the immediate suspension of the broadcast of all RFI programs across the national territory,” said the statement signed by government spokes Rimtalba Jean Emmanuel Ouedraogo. 

To this, the RFI responded by saying, “protests against the totally unfounded accusations calling into question its professionalism”.

In its response, it also said that the government did not send any prior notice before suspending the broadcast without adhering to procedures set up by the state’s communications regulator. 

RFI Afrique radio, which has the largest operation throughout French-speaking Africa, vowed that it will find more options to restore its broadcasting.  

The decision by Burkina Faso to suspend its radio broadcasting is the second such act after Mali, Burkina Faso’s neighbor which is also headed by a military government, suspended its radio broadcast. 

The move was made as ties between France and its former colonies Burkina Faso and Mali continue to deteriorate over what seems to be French ineffectiveness in dealing with armed groups who took control of northern Mali in 2012 and have since extended to neighboring states.

The insecurity over rebel groups going on for a long time resulted in political instability and military coups in August 2020 and May 2021 in Mali and in Burkina Faso in January and September this year. 

France called off its troops in Mali as the cordial connection between the two governments worsened over impediments in forming a constitutional form of government and Mali which took the help of the Russian private military company Wagner Group to support them in the conflict.  

The signs of French control in Burkina Faso, the embassy, cultural center, and military base, were attacked on November 18 by raging people demanding the support of Russia, similar to Mali, in fighting the rebels.  

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