FEBRUARY 11, 2005
Posted: February 16, 2005

Radio Publique Africaine

Burundi’s government-appointed media regulatory body, the Conseil National de la Communication (CNC) ordered independent radio station Radio Publique Africaine (RPA) closed for two days, accusing it of violating the country’s press law.

In a letter dated February 11, the CNC accused RPA of “multiple violations of the law regulating the press in Burundi,” including “offending public morals” by reporting on the rape of an 8-year-old girl and threatening public security by “deforming” the words of Tutsi politician and former President Jean-Baptiste Bagaza.

RPA Director Alexis Sinduhije, a CPJ International Press Freedom awardee in 2004, said these allegations were intended to intimidate the station, which has been airing critical debates and editorials about the country’s electoral process.

Burundi is due to hold elections in April 2005, but the electoral timetable has already been delayed. A constitutional referendum has been postponed three times and is now planned for February 28.

In November, the CNC denied a request for RPA to create a regional radio station in partnership with Ngozi University in the north of the country. No radio station, including state-run RTNB, currently has any local affiliates outside the capital, Bujumbura.