FEBRUARY 14, 2005
Posted: February 16, 2005


The government-appointed media regulatory body, the Conseil National de la Communication (CNC), banned the private Net-Press news agency for seven days following libel complaints.

Jean-Claude Kavumbagu, director of Net-Press, said the CNC suspended his news agency because of two articles alleged to be libelous.

One of the Net-Press articles accused Frédéric Bamvuginyumvira, head of the National Committee for Rehabilitation of War Victims, of diverting food aid, according to Kavumbagu. An editorial piece that ran several times in January and February said that National Assembly President Jean Minani was lazy and unfit to run for president of Burundi. Minani is expected to be a presidential candidate for FRODEBU, the mainly Hutu party of the current transitional president.

Kavumbagu said he was not given any opportunity to answer the CNC’s allegations.

The same day, the CNC ordered a two-day ban on independent radio station Radio Publique Africaine, raising fears that authorities are trying to muzzle the press in the run-up to April elections.