The junta-led government of Burkina Faso has halted one of the country’s most popular radio stations after it broadcast an interview deemed “insulting” to Niger’s new military leaders.
Radio Omega was shut down immediately on Thursday, “until further notice,” stated Communications Minister Rimtalba Jean Emmanuel Ouedraogo in a statement.
He said the measure was “in the higher interests of the nation.”
After the statement was made late Thursday, the station, which is part of the Omega media group controlled by journalist and former foreign minister Alpha Barry, suspended transmitting.
The channel aired an interview with Ousmane Abdoul Moumouni, spokesman for a newly formed Nigerien group pushing to re-elect President Mohamed Bazoum.
On July 26, members of the Presidential Guard deposed the country’s elected leader.
Moumouni made “insulting comments about the new Nigerien authorities,” said Ouedraogo, who is also a government spokesman.
His organisation “is clearly campaigning for violence and war against the sovereign people of Niger” and seeks to restore Bazoum “by every means,” he charged.
Burkina Faso experienced two military coups last year, each spurred in part – as in Mali and Niger – by dissatisfaction with the failure to quell a jihadist insurgency.
It quickly expressed its support for Niger’s new authorities and joined Mali in warning that any military action to reinstate Bazoum would be interpreted as a “declaration of war” against them.
In recent months, the Burkinabe authorities have suspended the French television channels LCI and France24, as well as Radio France Internationale, and removed correspondents from the French newspapers Liberation and Le Monde.