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Burkina Faso Suspends Broadcast of French State-Owned RFI Radio

Burkina Faso’s military government has suspended the broadcast of France’s state-owned Radio France Internationale (RFI), accusing it of having released a message from a terrorist leader to intimidate the population of the West African nation, government spokesman Jean Emmanuel Ouedraogo said.

According to Ouedraogo’s Saturday statement, RFI spread “a message to intimidate the public, attributed to a terrorist leader,” which, according to Burkinabe authorities, contributes to terrorist activities against “millions of Burkinabe citizens who came together to defend their homeland.”

The government also accused the broadcaster of featuring in its press review some “false information” suggesting that interim President Ibrahim Traore has said there had been an attempted coup against him.

“In view of the above, the government has decided to immediately suspend the broadcast of Radio France Internationale programs throughout the national territory until further notice,” Ouedraogo said.

RFI said later on Saturday that it deplored this decision, calling the actions of the Burkinabe government “totally unfounded.” The broadcaster pointed out that the suspension was ordered without prior notice and without implementing the procedures stipulated in RFI’s broadcasting agreement with the country’s authorities.

The owner of RFI, France Medias Monde, will explore ways to restore the radio’s broadcasting in the country, RFI’s statement said.

In October, Ibrahim Traore was sworn in as head of the transitional government of Burkina Faso in front of the country’s constitutional council.

In late September, media in Burkina Faso reported that Lt. Col. Paul-Henri Sandaogo Damiba, the leader of an interim government who came to power through a coup earlier this year, was ousted by a group of military officers led by Traore in what became the second military takeover in the country in eight months.

Damiba overthrew elected President Roch Marc Christian Kabore in January, 2022.

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