Burundi / Africa

Journalists attacked in Burundi since 1992

  
Supporters of the ruling party are seen in Bugendana, Burundi, on April 27, 2020. CPJ recently joined a letter calling on Burundi to maintain internet access during the elections. (AP/Berthier Mugiraneza)

CPJ joins call urging Burundi to maintain internet access during elections

The Committee to Protect Journalists yesterday joined 30 other rights organizations in a joint letter urging the government of Burundi to ensure that the internet remains accessible before, during, and after the presidential elections scheduled for tomorrow.

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A man stands in front of a plaque in honor of missing Burundian journalist Jean Bigirimana in Bujumbura during a commemoration to mark one year after the journalist's disappearance on July 21, 2017. On August 2, 2019, CPJ joined a call for the U.N. Human Rights Council to extend the mandate of the Burundi Commission of Inquiry. (AFP/STRINGER)

CPJ joins call for U.N. Human Rights Council to extend mandate of Burundi Commission of Inquiry

The Committee to Protect Journalists today joined 40 other civil society organizations in calling on member and observer states of the U.N. Human Rights Council to extend for a year the mandate of the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi.

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World Refugee Day: Fear of arrest drives journalists into exile

In August 2014 two journalists living more than 4,000 miles apart slipped across a border to find safety: one with his wife and three children, the other alone. Idrak Abbasov, from Azerbaijan, and Sanna Camara, from Gambia, faced imprisonment because of their reporting. Neither has been able to return home.

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A Bujumbura road is blocked during unrest over elections in Burundi in July. Many Burundians, including journalists, have gone into exile to flee the violence. (Reuters/Mike Hutchings)

Silence in Burundi as violence forces independent press into exile

On June 24, a grenade was thrown through the window of Voice of America correspondent Diane Nininahazwe’s home. It was one of three cases CPJ has documented in recent months where grenades were thrown into the homes of journalists in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura. Fortunately, there have been no fatalities, but there have also been no…

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The body of a man killed overnight lies on a street as polls open for the presidential elections in Bujumbura, Burundi, Tuesday, July 21, 2015. (AP/Jerome Delay)

Burundi must investigate attacks on journalists

The Committee to Protect Journalists and 18 other organizations are urging Burundi authorities to investigate attacks on journalists and human rights defenders. Since the April announcement that President Pierre Nkurunziza would run for a third term, defying constitutional limitations and sparking months of protests, journalists have been routinely targeted. At least five radio stations were…

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Supporters of Radio Publique Africaine director Bob Rugurika crowd around the station's offices to celebrate his release on bail last month. Rugurika's release comes as Burundi debates an easing of press laws. (AFP/Esdras Ndikumana)

Press law debate and journalist’s release signal hope for Burundi’s media

Burundi journalists may have more space to report freely ahead of the country’s controversial elections this year after the legislative assembly pushed for amendments to a draconian press law and a radio director was released on bail.

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Alexandre Niyungeko, of the Burundi Union of Journalists, speaks out about the restrictive press law. (IWACU)

Burundi’s journalist union takes repressive press law to court

If the state decides that a journalist’s article in Burundi jeopardizes someone’s “moral integrity” under the country’s Media Law it can demand that the journalist reveals sources, and it can suspend the publication. “It’s a backwards, freedom-killing law,” said Alexandre Niyungeko, the founder and head of the 300-member Burundi Union of Journalists. Despite the press…

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A bid to rid Africa of criminal defamation, sedition laws

The African Union’s special rapporteur on freedom of expression and access to information, Commissioner Pansy Tlakula, has launched an auspicious initiative in East Africa to counter criminal defamation and sedition laws. Since independence, authorities and business interests in the East and Horn region have used criminal laws on sedition, libel, and insult–often relics of former,…

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Patrick Paggio Niyonkuru is recovering from a bullet wound to the arm. (Courtesy Patrick Paggio Niyonkuru)

Burundi reporter shot by police for seeking information

Burundi’s government took unusually swift action last week in response to the police shooting of a radio reporter, after the journalist sought information at a roadblock in the capital Bujumbura where market vendors were allegedly being “taxed” for passage. Perhaps the shooting could have been averted if authorities had bothered to discipline officers involved in…

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Burundi journalists react to tear gas at Tuesday's protest. (Teddy Mazina)

Burundi police attack journalists marching for Ruvakuki

On Tuesday, Burundi’s press corps did what it has done for the past three weeks: protest the imprisonment of one of its own. Hassan Ruvakuki is a reporter jailed since November 28, 2011 on anti-state charges; for the first time, the journalists wore white t-shirts showing Ruvakuki in his green prison uniform. But this time,…

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