3 May 2017

Burundi: CNC - 'Media Persons Work Without Professional Card'

Burundi Media Regulator-CNC has released its 2016 annual report on the World Press Freedom this 3 May 2017. It admits that Burundian journalists face various challenges.

"Journalists, information technicians, film makers and media assistants do their work without a professional card because the issuance of such a card requires the amendment of some provisions of the texts governing the press and CNC", says Ramadhan Karenga, Chairman of Burundi Media Regulator-CNC

He also says the National Media Register has been created but isn't yet operational due to a lack of resources whereas it should facilitate the procedures for the granting of a professional card, the creation of a databank and support for media professionals.

Karenga says the failure to comply with the law governing the press by some media persons and public authorities is also a CNC concern.

The chairman of CNC calls upon the security forces to be more flexible and understand that journalists are entitled to perform safely their daily activities in Burundi and thus protect them and their equipment. "It would be better if security forces inform CNC in case they find some difficulties in identifying a press professional on the ground whenever necessary," he says.

On behalf of the National Assembly, Gabriel Toyi, Head of cabinet in the National Assembly says the Assembly will plead for the amendment of the texts governing the press law in Burundi. "It is important that CNC pleads in favor of a constructive press in Burundi and the Ministry of Finance would support journalists to facilitate their daily work", says Toyi.

The Burundi Media Regulator has published the report on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day which coincides with the 10th anniversary of the adoption by the National Assembly of the law putting in place the Burundi Media Regulator.

UN Secretary General urges journalists' protection

In his message on the occasion of the World Press Freedom, Antonio Guterres, the UN Secretary General says journalists go to the most dangerous places to give the floor to people whose voices can hardly reach far.

"Media professionals face defamation, sexual or physical assault, imprisonment and even death. We need strong personalities to defend the freedom of the media", says Guterres.

On this World Press Freedom Day, the UN Secretary General calls for an end to all forms of repression against journalists - because a free press advances peace and justice for all."Protect journalists because their words and images can change the world"; he says.

In the recent report by Reporters without Borders (RSF), Burundi was ranked the 160th out of 180 countries in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index. RSF says the country was the 156th in 2016 and is now ranked behind all the East African Community countries.

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