Radio Omega is back on the airwaves in Burkina Faso after being suspended for a month due to an interview with a spokesperson for a movement supporting the reinstatement of President Bazoum in Niger. Sadibou Marong, the Director of Reporters Without Borders for West Africa, has given his thoughts on the reinstatement of this media outlet.
While Sadibou Marong, the director of Reporters Without Borders for West Africa, welcomes the return of Radio Omega, he believes it “should never have been suspended, let alone by the government or its spokesperson, who do not have the right to do so, as Burkina has a Superior Council for Communication which, according to the law, has the prerogative to issue warnings or sanction a media outlet.”
“The impression we have is that the radio has stood firm in terms of diversity, pluralism, and the independence of its activities and general coverage of events in the country. From this perspective, it could be seen as a discordant voice that fundamentally bothers the military authorities, hence their intention to silence it for a month,” he added.
To demonstrate Radio Omega’s pluralism, Sadibou Marong recalls that it was the first to give a voice to Captain Traoré shortly after the September 2022 coup.
According to Sadibou Marong, the junta is attempting to impose a narrative that is favorable to them, even as the population needs reliable, diverse, and independent information. In October 2022, a Radio Omega columnist, Alain Traoré, filed a complaint against unknown individuals after receiving death threats. The radio station had also been the target of calls to set its premises on fire.
Burkina Faso has a vibrant and pluralistic media landscape with 80 newspapers, 185 radio stations, and around 30 television channels.
However, the state of press freedom deteriorated starting in 2022 with the arrival of the military in power. Burkina Faso dropped in the Reporters Without Borders global ranking from 41st place in 2022 to 58th place in 2023.