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Burkina Faso suspends BBC and VOA for 2 weeks

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Burkina Faso has suspended radio networks BBC and Voice of America from broadcasting for airing a rights NGO report accusing the army of attacks on civilians in its battle against jihadists.

The country has been battling attacks from groups linked to Al-Qaeda and Islamic State since a jihadist insurgency swept in from neighboring Mali in 2015.

“The programs of these two international radio networks broadcasting from Ouagadougou have been suspended for a period of two weeks,” the country’s communications authority (CSC) announced.

It said the decision had been taken because BBC Africa and the VOA had aired and also published a report on their digital platforms “accusing the Burkina army of abuses against the civilian population.”

International NGO Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in their report on Thursday that soldiers in Burkina Faso’s jihadist-stricken north had killed at least 223 villagers, including 56 children, in two revenge attacks on February 25.

The CSC said the report contained “hasty and biased declarations without tangible proof against the Burkinabe army.” It also said the “approach” of the BBC and VOA “undermines the cardinal principles of information processing in that it constitutes disinformation likely to bring discredit to the Burkinabe army.” It said this could also create disturbances to public order.

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