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US, UK condemn media restrictions in Burkina Faso

As the world celebrates the World Press Freedom Day (May 3rd), themed: “A Press for the Planet: protecting journalists and scientists in defense of the environment” the governments of the United States and United Kingdom have condemned the suspension of media outlets, including VOA and the BBC, the blocking of Human Rights Watch’s website, and restrictions placed on all media from reporting on their articles.   

This decision, it says, coincides with World Press Freedom Day on May 3, which reminds us that societies are strengthened, not threatened, by well-informed publics and expressions of opinion. 

Free and independent media must be permitted to conduct investigations and good faith reporting without fear of reprisals, the government maintained while urging Burkina Faso’s Superior Council of Communication (CSC) to reconsider its suspensions of media outlets. 

Both governments also reacted to a recent report from Human Rights Watch that provided details of the execution of at least 223 civilians, including 56 children, in the villages of Nondin and Soro in Burkina Faso’s Yatenga province.  

Washington and London blamed the massacres of civilians on the Burkinabe military forces and called on the Transition Authorities to thoroughly investigate these massacres and hold those responsible to account. 

According to the State Department, the United States wants all actors in Burkina Faso to respect human rights and adhere to international humanitarian law as applicable, stressing that “the only long-term solution to the scourge of terrorism is expanding good governance based on the rule of law, respect for human rights, and promotion of social cohesion.” 

We offer our deepest condolences to the loved ones of all victims of violence perpetrated in Burkina Faso in recent months, including Christians and Muslims murdered by terrorist groups in their places of worship, and members of the armed forces who have been killed.  

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