By RFPosted on 21-10-2019Modified on 21-10-2019 at 05:00

In Burundi, the National Council of Communication, a government body that regulates the media, is accused of trying to tightly control the media coverage of the 2020 elections. The body gave up until Sunday to only two media outlets. have not signed this document on the spot for them to react.

The NCC first on Friday surprised all Burundian media officials by asking them to subscribe immediately to a "Code of Conduct for Media and Journalists in 2020" which is supposed to allow them to work " professionally " but to which they had not contributed, and they have not yet received the text in their own hands.

Thirty Burundian media officials had been summoned for " exchanges on a draft code of conduct " prepared by the CNC.

But things went quickly, according to journalists present on site. After a short presentation of this text, they are all invited to sign this code which strictly framed and today their coverage of the general elections scheduled in seven months.

The rules to which they must subscribe are very restrictive. For example, they undertake " not to publish or disseminate by any means whatsoever (...) provisional or final results of elections other than those officially announced by the National Independent Electoral Commission . "

And the text also warns that " under no circumstances can the results of polls be considered as a source of information for the media ".

Signature or not, a mandatory deposit

All the officials present will then sign the document, with the exception of the two last independent media outlets in Burundi, the weekly Iwacu and Isanganiro radio.

They had until Sunday evening to send their considerations, but the president of the National Council of Communication, Nestor Bankumukunzi, has already warned: this code that Burundian journalists " pledge to respect freely ", will apply to all media, " signatories and non-signatories ".

This text goes even further since it also applies to foreign journalists who will be accredited to cover the 2020 elections, according to one of his articles, to which the current head of state Pierre Nkurunziza has promised not to represent himself .

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