What do Delhi, Beijing, and Villiers-sur-Marne have in common, but Ouagadougou does not? The first three recently banned access to films their governments deemed inappropriate. But a film festival in the fourth, the capital of Burkina Faso in West Africa, is stepping up security to show an acclaimed but controversial movie about Islamic militancy in neighboring Mali.
Cape Town, South Africa, December 5, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists welcomes today's ruling by the African Court on Human and Peoples Rights in Addis Ababa that criminal defamation should be used only in restricted circumstances and that imprisonment for defamation violates freedom of expression. The court also upheld the appeal of Issa Lohé Konaté, editor of the Burkina Faso-based weekly L'Ouragan, who in October 2012 was sentenced to 12 months in prison and a fine for criminal defamation in connection with two articles he wrote questioning abuse of power by the state prosecutor's office.
Lagos, Nigeria, October 30, 2014--The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed that protesters stormed and looted the offices of Burkina Faso's national broadcaster Radiodiffusion Television du Burkina in the capital, Ouagadougou, today. Thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets to protest a constitutional amendment that would allow President Blaise Compaore to seek re-election next year, according to reports.
Journalist Lohé Issa Konaté has been imprisoned in Burkina Faso since he was convicted in October of criminal defamation over articles in private weekly L'Ouragan alleging corruption and abuse of power at the office of the public prosecutor. In May, an appeals court rejected his appeal and upheld the 12-month sentence, according to defense counsel Halidou Ouedraogo. Now, after exhausting all domestic legal remedies, Konaté has filed a complaint with the African Court on Human and Peoples' Rights in Tanzania.
In Burkina Faso, tens of journalists from state media today held a sit-in in front of the Ministry of Communications in the capital Ouagadougou to protest what they deem to be excessive government censorship of news coverage.
New York, October 31, 2012--The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the criminal convictions of two journalists and the suspension of their newspaper in Burkina Faso on charges of criminal defamation in connection with their allegations of corrupt practices in the state prosecutor's office.
For Geneviève Zongo, every December 13 revives excruciating memories of the loss of her husband Norbert Zongo, editor of the weekly. He was assassinated in 1998 while investigating the murder of a driver working at Burkina Faso's presidential palace. More painful still is that the killers who ambushed Zongo's car, riddling it with bullets and torching it, have never been brought to justice.
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