Burkina Faso Bans French State-Owned Broadcaster After Interview With Al Qaeda Leader


(MENAFN) Burkina Faso's military government has recently banned the France24 TV channel after it broadcasted an interview with the leader of Al Qaeda's North African offshoot, Yezid Mebarek 1. While French and Burkinabe troops recently fought jihadists together, the African nation cut its ties with its former colonizer master this year.

In response to the interview, Burkina Faso's minister of communication, Jean-Emmanuel Ouedraogo, accused France24 of "acting as a mouthpiece for these terrorists" and providing "a space for the legitimization of terrorist actions and hate speech" 1. The ban on the French state-owned broadcaster is seen as a significant move by Burkina Faso's military government, which came to power after a coup in 2022.

Earlier this month, France24 interviewed Yezid Mebarek, who took over the leadership of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) in 2020 after French forces killed his predecessor, Abdelmalek Droukdel, in a raid in neighboring Mali 1. France24 has denied the allegations made by Burkina Faso's government, stating that it never gave Mebarek "the floor directly" and that it reported his words via one of its journalists 1.

The ban on France24 is not the first time that the country has taken action against media outlets. In 2019, Burkina Faso suspended the operations of the BBC and other media outlets after accusing them of "inciting terrorism" 2. The move was criticized by press freedom advocates, who argued that it was an attack on free speech.

Burkina Faso has been facing a significant security crisis in recent years, with jihadist groups carrying out frequent attacks in the country's northern and eastern regions. The situation has led to the displacement of more than one million people and has put a significant strain on the country's resources 3. The military government has been working to address the security situation and has sought help from neighboring countries and international partners.

In conclusion, Burkina Faso's ban on the France24 TV channel is a significant move by the country's military government. The move is seen as a response to the interview with Al Qaeda's North African offshoot leader, Yezid Mebarek. While the ban is likely to be criticized by press freedom advocates, it is a reminder of the challenges faced by the country in addressing its security crisis.

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