Burkina Faso junta temporarily suspends radio station for criticizing Niger

Burkina Faso’s government, led by the junta, has temporarily halted the operations of one of the nation’s widely listened-to radio stations after the station aired an interview that was judged as “insulting” towards Niger’s newly established military leadership.

Radio Omega was promptly placed under suspension on Thursday “until further notice,” as stated by Communications Minister Rimtalba Jean Emmanuel Ouedraogo in an official announcement.

He said the measure was “in the higher interests of the Nation.”

The broadcasting of the station, which is affiliated with the Omega media group owned by journalist and former foreign minister Alpha Barry, came to a halt following the issuance of the statement on late Thursday.

The channel had conducted an interview with Ousmane Abdoul Moumouni, the spokesperson for a recently formed Nigerien group advocating for the reinstatement of President Mohamed Bazoum to his position.

The nation’s democratically elected leader was ousted on July 26 by individuals belonging to the Presidential Guard.

Moumouni made remarks that were deemed “offensive” towards the newly established authorities in Niger, stated Ouedraogo, who also serves as the government’s spokesperson.

His organization is evidently advocating for violence and conflict against the independent people of Niger, and aims to reinstate Bazoum using any available methods, he charged.

On Friday, Radio Omega declared its intention to employ all available avenues in order to contest the suspension.

The decision is a “blatant violation of current laws and an unacceptable attack on freedom of expression and freedom of the press,” it said.

The directive, the statement added, was issued following a series of numerous death threats directed towards the station’s managers and journalists, reportedly originating from individuals identifying themselves as backers of the government.

In the past year, Burkina Faso experienced two military coups, both partly ignited by frustration over the inability to suppress a growing militant insurgency, a situation mirrored in Mali and Niger.

It promptly expressed support for Niger’s emerging leadership and united with Mali in cautioning that any military intervention aimed at reinstating Bazoum would be construed as a “declaration of war” against them.

In recent months, the Burkinabe authorities have temporarily halted the broadcasts of French television channels LCI and France24, as well as Radio France Internationale (RFI). Additionally, they have expelled the correspondents from the French newspapers Liberation and Le Monde.

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