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COMMUNIQUE OF THE GOVERNMENT DENOUNCING THE BBC REPETITIVE BLUNDERS VIS-A-VIS OF BURUNDI

1. On 28 April 2018, the journalist François Misser from the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) Africa Service interviewed a person under an international arrest warrant issued by the Burundian Justice for involvement in the deadly violence that preceded the failed coup d’état of May 13, 2015. The interviewed individual just pretended to be a Burundian defender of human rights.

2. During the interview with the BBC, the so-called human rights defender made inflammatory statements calling Burundians to hatred and subversion.

3. It should be noted that in just one month, BBC journalists are showing a stark lack of journalistic ethics and deontology by helping and abetting both national and international opinions that have no other purpose than to disturb peace and security in Burundi.

4. Indeed, on March 12, 2018, a Burundian journalist named Judith BASUTAMA, correspondent of the BBC was warned for the same breach. And on April 15, 2018, she was followed by Firmin Henry BADEGA, while François MISSER was found guilty of the same error on April 28 and all this despite the warnings of the National Council of Communication (CNC) towards the BBC.

5. The Government of Burundi would like to remind the national and international opinions about the harmful role played by the hate media in our sub region, starting with our neighboring country Rwanda. Burundi has narrowly escaped a tragic situation in 2015 had it not been the wisdom of Burundians and the professionalism of the institutions in terms of crisis management.

6. The Government of Burundi cannot therefore hide its disappointment with a medium of high notoriety such as the BBC that should not ignore the significant progress made by Burundi following the insurgency happened in May 2015 and consequently refrain from the lack of professionalism in defending criminals instead of supporting republican institutions.

7. In view of such an approach, which could undermine the remarkable efforts of the Government of Burundi to consolidate peace and security and promote socio-economic well-being for all the daughters and sons of Burundi, the Government of Burundi requests the CNC to take its responsibilities vis-à-vis the BBC and any other media that will engage in a similar attitude in strict compliance with the law.

8. By the same occasion, the Government of Burundi would like to reassure the national and foreign media that freedom of expression remains one of its top priorities. However, the Government warns all other hate media that measures will be taken to ensure tranquility for the people of Burundi and foreigners living in Burundi.

9. Finally, the Government of Burundi reassures the population, invites all Burundians to maintain the serenity that has always characterized them and to respond massively to the activities of the campaign for the constitutional referendum of 17 May 2018.

Done at Bujumbura, 30 April 2018

Philippe NZOBONARIBA

Secretary-General and Spokesman
of the Government.-

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