Burkina junta suspends distribution of French newspaper
Military-ruled Burkina Faso on Saturday suspended “all distribution methods” of Le Monde daily after an article on a deadly jihadist attack in the north, in the latest measure against a French media organisation, AFP reports.
“The government has decided to suspend all distribution methods of the newspaper Le Monde in Burkina Faso starting from Saturday, December 2, 2023,” Communication Minister Rimtalba Jean Emmanuel Ouedraogo said in a statement.
He criticised a “biased article”, referring to a story published on Le Monde’s website on Friday about a bloody jihadist attack on a military base in Djibo on November 26.
The United Nations says at least 40 civilians were killed in the attack claimed by The Group for the Support of Islam and Muslims, while Burkinabe security sources spoke of a “few” military deaths.
“Contrary to what the newspaper Le Monde peremptorily claims, the Burkinabe government has never trapped itself in a propaganda mindset in the war we are waging against terrorism,” Ouedraogo said.
Le Monde “has chosen its side”, he added.
The Burkinabe authorities in recent months have suspended the French TV outlets LCI and France24 as well as Radio France Internationale and the magazine Jeune Afrique.
The correspondents of the French newspapers Liberation and Le Monde have also been expelled.
In April, Amnesty International urged the authorities to stop “attacks and threats” against press freedom in the West African country.
Relations between Burkina Faso and former colonial power France plummeted after the military seized power in a 2022 coup, citing failing efforts to quash a jihadist insurgency that erupted in 2015.
The junta has since turned away from its traditional ally, forcing it to withdraw its troops deployed against the rebels, and has turned towards Russia.
Insurgents affiliated with Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State group have fought the state since 2015 after a rebellion in neighbouring Mali spilled over.
The fighting has killed thousands of civilians and members of the security forces and displaced many more.