News24

Burundi slams private radio

2011-11-15 11:36

Bujumbura - Burundi's interior minister has accused the country's main private radio of inciting the population to disobedience and hatred, and ordered it to submit bank details and records.

Edouard Nduwimana said that Radio Publique Africaine (RPA) was "discrediting institutions, belittling the authority of the judiciary and inciting people to hatred and disobedience", in a letter sent to the radio seen by AFP on Tuesday.

The radio's director Eric Manirakiza said the government wanted to silence the station, adding that he will lodge a complaint.

Manirakiza also said that two RPA journalists were recently questioned for hours by a Bujumbura prosecutor "for no apparent reason".

Last week, the prosecutor asked the directors of RPA and two other private radios accused of backing the opposition to divulge their sources of funding, but they refused to do so.

The stations, as well as a fourth one in solidarity, called on their listeners to hoot their vehicle horns for 15 seconds at about midday on Tuesday in protest against "extra-judicial killings and violations of freedoms".

Several press freedom and activist groups have criticised Burundi's government for harassing the directors of top private radio stations since a probe began on a bar attack in September that killed 36 people.

Violence has rocked the small central African country since the 2010 re-election of President Pierre Nkurunziza that was rejected by the opposition.