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Attacks on the Press in 1997 - Burkina Faso

Publisher Committee to Protect Journalists
Publication Date February 1998
Cite as Committee to Protect Journalists, Attacks on the Press in 1997 - Burkina Faso, February 1998, available at: [accessed 24 November 2017]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Entering the year with a new national motto of "Unity, Progress and Justice," Burkina Faso's parliament voted overwhelmingly to repeal constitutional provisions which had previously limited President Blase Compaore to two seven-year terms. Viewed as a setback to a tide of democratic reform that had swept the region after the collapse of communism in 1990, the new amendment did not help the cash-strapped country in the eyes of foreign donors. Although the 1990 Information Code, drafted at the same time as the new constitution, provided for freedom of speech and the press, in actuality these freedoms still remain subject to the practice of self-censorship. The independent press includes four dailies, a dozen weeklies, and a monthly news magazine. There are six radio stations and one private television station.

But despite this thriving press, the country's image was tarnished when Moustapha Thiombiano, the president general of the Horizon-FM radio station – the first independent station broadcasting in Burkina Faso since 1987 – was attacked by four supporters of the ruling Congress for Democracy and Progress party. The attack followed the airing of critical commentary on one of the station's call-in programs.

On December 24, four commercial radio stations announced a seven-hour blackout of their stations to protest the government's recent ban on local stations re-transmitting broadcasts from international stations such as Voice of America, the BBC, Radio Vatican, and Radio France International.

Copyright notice: © Committee to Protect Journalists. All rights reserved. Articles may be reproduced only with permission from CPJ.

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