The Government of Burundi has announced the removal of sanctions against the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) following a three-year suspension. The Burundi National Communication Council (CNC) said earlier this week that the broadcaster has been permitted to resume operations.
“If you can recall, we had approved their reopening, but there were still some loopholes that needed to be covered, and once again, the broadcaster can resume operation in Burundi,” mentioned Vestine Nahimana, the President of CNC.
In 2019 the Burundi National Communication Council (CNC) had cancelled BBC’s licence, and local reporters were not permitted to contribute to it.
The Voice of America was dealt the same cards in April 2019 for its indefinite suspension.
The President of the country, Evariste Ndayishimiye, last year instructed the communication council to engage in open dialogue with suspended local and international media entities for potential reopening.
In February last year, BBC Now became the second media house to reopen after Bonesha Radio, a local station.
The broadcaster was sanctioned in 2015 after allegations against the owners who failed to play their role in the coup against former President Pierre Nkurunziza.
Local media houses African Public Radio and Renaissance TV were also sanctioned in 2015.
According to the World Press Freedom report, Burundi was ranked 147 out of 180 in press freedom in 2021; this is an improvement from its 2020 – 160 position.
Furthermore, the election of President Ndayishimiye in May 2020 gave reporters hope after years of being left in the dark, indicated by the World Press Freedom report.