Burkina junta orders France 24 off air after Al-Qaeda interview
AFP | Ouagadougou
The Daily Tribune – www.newsofbahrain.com
Burkina Faso's ruling junta on Monday suspended all broadcasts by France 24 media in the country, after it aired an interview with the head of Al-Qaeda in North Africa.
"By opening its antennas to the head of AQIM (Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb), France 24 not only acts as a communications agency for these terrorists but also offers ... legitimacy to terrorist actions and hate speech," the junta's spokesman said, referring to the interview on March 6 with AQIM head Abu Ubaydah Yusuf al-Annabi.
"Therefore the government has decided... to suspend sine die the diffusion of France 24 programmes on national territory," spokesman Jean-Emmanuel Ouedraogo said.
On March 6, France 24 broadcast written replies given by al-Annabi to 17 questions posed by the news channel's specialist on jihadist questions, Wassim Nasr.
In early December, the junta in the west African nation suspended Radio France Internationale (RFI), which belongs to the same media group as France 24, accusing the radio station of emitting a "message of intimidation" attributed to a "terrorist chief".
Both RFI and France 24 have been suspended in neighbouring Mali, which is also run by a military junta and is, like Burkina, fighting jihadist forces.
The junta in Ouagadougou said it would continue to "defend the vital interests of our people against anyone who acts as a loudspeaker for terrorist acts and the divisive hate speech of these armed groups".
Burkina Faso witnessed two military coups the last year, led by officers angered at the failure to tackle the threat from jihadist groups.
In March, the ruling junta in Mali announced the suspension of the broadcasting authorisation granted to RFI and France 24, after they published accounts implicating Mali's army in abuses against civilians.