Burkina expels reporters from French newspapers

Burkina expels reporters from French newspapers
freedom of journalism concept/ Shutterstock


Burkina Faso has expelled correspondents from France's Le Monde and Liberation dailies, the newspapers said on Sunday, the latest move the junta running the west African country has taken against French media.

Burkina Faso, which witnessed two coups last year, is battling a jihadist insurgency that spilled over from neighbouring Mali in 2015.

"Our correspondent in Burkina Faso, Sophie Douce, has been expelled from the country... at the same time as her colleague from Liberation, Agnes Faivre," Le Monde said on Sunday.

The women were summoned by authorities on Friday evening and given 24 hours to leave the country. They landed in Paris on Sunday morning, it said.

Le Monde said it "condemns in the strongest terms this arbitrary decision" and demanded the authorities rescind it.

Liberation said that it "vigorously protests these absolutely unjustified expulsions" and suggested they were linked to an investigation it published earlier in the week.

"The March 27 publication of a Liberation investigation into the circumstances in which a video was filmed showing children and adolescents being executed in a military barracks by at least one soldier evidently strongly displeased the junta in power in Burkina Faso."

Burkina government spokesman Jean-Emmanuel Ouedraogo wrote after the piece was published that "the government strongly condemns these manipulations disguised as journalism to tarnish the image of the country".


- French media -


The expulsions marked the latest move against media from former colonial power France by the military junta running Burkina Faso.

On Monday, it suspended all broadcasts by France 24, after the news channel interviewed the head of Al-Qaeda North Africa, saying the interview was "part of a process of legitimising the terrorist message and we know the effects of this message in this country".

France 24 hit back, saying "the security crisis the country is going through must not be a pretext for muzzling the media".

In December, the Burkina junta suspended Radio France Internationale (RFI), which belongs to the same France Medias Monde group as France 24, accusing the radio station of airing a "message of intimidation" attributed to a "terrorist chief".

Soldiers in Burkina Faso, one of the world's poorest nations, staged two coups in 2022 over the failure to tackle the threat from jihadist groups.

More than 10,000 civilians, troops and police have been killed, according to one NGO estimate, and at least two million people have been displaced.

Official figures say jihadists effectively control about 40 percent of the country.

Junta leader Captain Ibrahim Traore vowed to recover lost territory after taking power in September.

But attacks have escalated since the start of the year, with dozens of soldiers and civilians killed every week.

Both RFI and France 24, which cover African affairs closely and are popular in African francophone nations, have been suspended in neighbouring Mali, which is also run by a military junta fighting jihadist forces.