13 February 2017

Burundi: Radio Rema and Isanganiro Threatened By Financial Challenges, Says Minister of Information

Two media outlets operating in Burundi are facing enormous financial challenges. Radio Rema and Isanganiro, which were destroyed in 2015 during the coup attempt, are experiencing serious technical and financial difficulties, according to the Minister of Information.

On 10 February, Minister of Information Nestor Bankumukunzi paid a visit to six Burundi media outlets, including the Iwacu Press Group, National Radio and Television, Ubumwe and Renouveau Newspapers, Radio Isanganiro and Rema.

The objective of this visit was to look at current media situation: the facilities and the difficulties they encounter.

Bankumukunzi says that the media working in Burundi are facing enormous financial difficulties in general, but that Radio Isanganiro and Rema, which were attacked during the coup attempt of 13 May 2015, are experiencing serious technical difficulties. Both media resumed broadcasting on 19 February 2016.

The director of Radio Rema FM Claude Nkurunziza says that after the attackof the radio, they could not get back their destroyed equipment. «We are now forced to only cover political events in the capital Bujumbura only because of the lack of financial and technical means," Ndayishimiye says.

Since the reopening of the radio, they have not imported any hardware. "We are using equipment purchased on the local market that is not suitable for broadcasting.

We have had to bring a transmitter that was installed in the country in order to be able to transmit from Bujumbura," he says. So, there is a part of the population that cannot have access to information.

We have problems with both high and low frequencies as well as with the computer, he says. He asks the partners that worked with the media to support them.

"They have resumed broadcasting, but they still have difficulty reaching the level at which they were in 2015," said Minister of Information.

A day after the failed coup attempt of 13th May 2015, four radio stations, namely Radio Publique Africaine (RPA), Radio Sans Frontere Bonesha (RSF), Radio Isanganiro, and one most widely watched private

television channel Renaissance TV were destroyed, reportedly by policemen and military loyal to president Pierre Nkurunziza. They were accused of supporting the protests against President Pierre Nkurunziza's bid to run for a third term in office. Rema FM which was known to be pro-ruling party was also destroyed.

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