Burundi Bans BBC, VOA Ahead Of Controversial Referendum

Burundi Capital, Bujumbura.

Bujumbura: BURUNDI has announced a six month ban for the Voice of America (VOA), BBC as well as two local broadcasters ahead of a controversial referendum to allow President Pierre Nkurunziza to extend his term.

The ban comes into effect today.”

“Banning two major international broadcasters just days ahead of a referendum on constitutional amendments clearly indicates a desire by the Burundian authorities to censor the public debate and trample on the right to information,” said Arnaud Froger, the head of Reporters Without Borders (RSF’s) Africa desk.

Burundi is ranked 159th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2018 World Press Freedom Index.

The East African nation holds a referendum on May 17 that could see Nkurunziza to extend his power till 2034.

Nearly half a million people have fled Burundi since Nkurunziza won a third term in a 2015 election that led to violent clashes. His foes said he had no right to run again

On Tuesday, the US State Department condemned recent political violence in Burundi and expressed concern that the vote could hurt the country’s institutions.