A proposed bill is causing concern among journalists in Ouagadougou. This bill, presented at the last Council of Ministers, would allow the head of state to directly appoint the president of the Superior Council of Communication (CSC), an authority responsible for granting or revoking radio and television frequencies.
As soon as the announcement was made, the interprofessional association of journalists gathered on Thursday, October 5th, in a press conference in Ouagadougou to denounce the bill.
“We dare to hope that this will not pass,” said one journalist. Four representatives of media professional organizations strongly voiced their opposition to the bill presented by the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights.
For journalist Guézouma Sanogo, president of the steering committee of the Norbert Zongo Press Center, this reform is a “complete denial of press freedom.”
According to Burkinabe media, appointing the head of the Superior Council of Communication (CSC) directly by the presidency discredits the very notion of the institution’s independence and the decisions it may make in the future.
Two opposing interpretations of the same project
Conversely, when presenting the bill, Jean-Emmanuel Ouedraogo, the Minister of Communication, emphasized that, in his opinion, the reform of the CSC would allow for greater flexibility in the institution’s operation, ensure its stability, and expand its scope of intervention.
If the project is successful, the CSC will regulate not only the media but also social networks, as a profile with more than 5,000 followers will be considered a full-fledged media and subject to the same rules as a traditional media outlet.
Since the reform was proposed, concerned Burkinabe journalists have actively called on the legislative assembly not to adopt it.