The government of Burundi under the administration of President Pierre Nkurunziza has outrightly declined to lift its ban on the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and Voice of America (VOA) services in the country.
In what appeared to be the government's disapproval of services rendered by the BBC and VOA, the two international media houses were handed suspensions in May 2018 for a period of six months each.
This was as a result of what the government termed as interference in internal affairs, publicizing of fake news and attempt to spread tension ahead of the constitutional amendment referendum that was held in order to extend the president's tenure in office and increase his constitutional powers.
The bans were handed out through the country's media regulator, the National Communication Council (CNC). The council accused the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) of broadcasting content that "put national cohesion and reconciliation at stake."
The Voice of America (VOA) was banned for partnering with some local media houses that had been shut down in 2015.
The two media houses who have been counting down to the end of their lengthy bans will no doubt curse their stars as the government in the country has gone on to withdraw the license of the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and extended the ban on Voice of America (VOA) till further notice.
Speaking on the new development yesterday, chairman of the National Communication Council (CNC), Mr. Nestor Bankumukunzi said:
"The CNC has decided to withdraw the operating license for BBC... and VOA programmes will still be suspended until further notice.
"All Burundian and foreign journalists who are in the country are forbidden from reporting or giving information directly or indirectly to the BBC and VOA."
You will recall that in December last year, BBC Africa Eye aired an investigative 23-minute documentary, dubbed Inside the Secret Killing House, that documented the killing and torture of opposition members by security forces in secret detention facilities.
The documentary, incensed the government, leading to the decision to withdraw BBC's license.
Quotes Credit: African News
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