• Mon. Jun 24th, 2024

Celebrating World Press Freedom Day


May 7, 2023

BUJUMBURA May 7th (ABP) – Burundi has joined the rest of the world in celebrating World Press Freedom Day. On that occasion, the Ministry of Communication, Information Technologies and the Media in collaboration with UNESCO organized a session of reflection and exchange on the state of this freedom in Burundi.

                                                                                      View of the participants

The theme dedicated to that day is: “Freedom of expression: engine of other freedoms and human rights”. According to the assistant to the Minister in charge of the Media, Mr. Thierry Kitamoya, the freedom celebrated is a collective freedom of all Burundians. He mentioned the improvement of the legal framework “to remove all the challenges that would oppose this freedom”. Mr. Kitamoya also cited the government’s commitment to support the press, quoting the President of the Republic who said that the media are essential in development. Nonetheless, he acknowledged that the journey to freedom is continuous.

The Minister’s assistant reiterated the government’s commitment to carry out actions that will make the journalistic profession easier, while welcoming the contribution of development partners in general and support for press freedom.

Mr. Zénon Manirakiza, who represented UNESCO, delivered the message of Ms. Audrey Azoulay, Director General of UNESCO on the occasion of this day. In her massage, the Director General of UNESCO, recommended to “fight against the impunity which still surrounds the crimes of which journalists are victims, with nearly nine murders of journalists, out of 10 which remain unpunished”. She mentioned that the challenge of the United Nations Action Plan for the Safety of Journalists is the issue of impunity, which UNESCO has been leading for 10 years. With the digital revolution, she said, the information landscape, its modes of production and distributions have indeed been radically disrupted, jeopardizing the viability of independent professional media. An issue is fundamental, because it is a question of both protecting freedom of expression and combating disinformation and hate speech, according to the Director General of UNESCO, who wanted to renew the commitment of the UNESCO “to defend journalists and through them, the freedom of the press”.

That day was characterized by the animation of a panel around the evolution of press freedom in Burundi. The media support fund, the problem linked to the retention of information by certain sources, the protection of journalists in the field, the improvement of the living conditions of journalists, the lack of professionalism resulting from the low level of training of journalists , were the main topics of reflection that were discussed during that panel.