Burkina Faso suspends French news channel over insurgency report
PHOTO CAPTION: Soldiers from Burkina Faso patrol on the road of Gorgadji in sahel area, Burkina Faso March 3, 2019. REUTERS/Luc Gnago
OUAGADOUGOU (Reuters) - Burkina Faso's military government has suspended a French television news channel for a report on a jihadistinsurgency which it said lacked objectivity and credibility, the latest escalation in a crackdown on foreign media.
Relations between Burkina Faso and its former coloniser France have soured since frustrations over worsening insecurity spurred two military takeovers last year.
French television channel La Chaine Info (LCI), of private broadcaster TF1, was suspended for three months from June 23 over a report aired at the end of April, according to a statement by the national media regulator published on Thursday.
The media regulator said the report overplayed the scale of the insurgency and "seditiously" exposed "unverified" failures in Burkina Faso's military response to the crisis.
TF1 did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The ruling junta has already suspended French-funded broadcasters Radio France Internationale and France24 for allegedly giving voice to Islamist militants staging an insurgency across the Sahel region south of the Sahara.
In April, two French journalists working for newspapers Le Monde and Liberation were expelled from the country.
Burkina Faso is one of several West African countries grappling with an insurgency by groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State that took root in Mali in 2012.
The violence has killed thousands of civilians and displaced over six million people as militants have gained ground, according to the United Nations.
(Reporting by Thiam Ndiaga; Additional reporting by Jean-Michel Belot in Paris, Writing by Sofia Christensen; Editing by Nellie Peyton and Angus MacSwan)