Burkina Faso expels two journalists working for French newspapers

Burkina Faso has been taking a tough line against France since Capt Ibrahim Traoré (C) took power last year (Reuters)

Burkina Faso has expelled journalists from two leading French newspapers, in the latest move against France by Burkina Faso’s military junta.

Sophie Douce of Le Monde and Agnès Faivre of Libération arrived in Paris after being given 24 hours to leave.

The expulsions follow the publication of a Libération investigation into a video which showed children being executed in military barracks.

The authorities described it as manipulation disguised as journalism.

The two newspapers condemned the expulsions as a major setback for press freedom in the former French colony.

Douce said plain-clothed security officers had visited her house on Saturday and said her accreditation was being withdrawn.

Douce’s reporting “obviously ended up seeming unbearable” to the military regime that seized power in a coup last September, Le Monde’s Director Jérôme Fenoglio said in a statement.

Libération said the investigation by Faivre into children and adolescents allegedly being killed in a military barracks was likely to have displeased the authorities.

“These restrictions on freedom of information are unacceptable and the sign of a power that refuses to allow its actions to be questioned,” it said.

The expulsion of the journalists is the latest sign that Capt Ibrahim Traoré’s regime is cracking down on French media.

It had earlier suspended broadcasts of two state-owed media outlets, France 24 and Radio France International (RFI).

France 24 was suspended last month after the authorities accused it of being a “communications agency” of the militants by broadcasting an interview with the head of al-Qaeda’s North Africa wing, Yezid Mebarek, who is also known as Abu Ubaydah Yusuf al-Anabi.

France 24 described the allegation as defamatory, saying it had never invited the al-Qaeda leader to speak directly on its programmes, and had “simply reported his words in the form of a column, ensuring the necessary distance and context”.

In December, RFI was suspended after being accused of broadcasting false reports, which it denied.

Burkina Faso was once a staunch ally of France, but the military regime has been turning its back on the former colonial power.

Instead, it is seen to be strengthening ties with Russia in a bid to defeat militant Islamists who have wreaked havoc across the region.

In February, French troops pulled out after the regime asked them to leave.


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