Freedom House issued the following statement in response to the Burundian government’s violent suppression of demonstrations and its censorship of private radio stations following the announcement that President Nkurunziza would seek a constitutionally prohibited third term.
Elections, Freedom of Association, Freedom of Expression
Project Manager, Freedom in the World and Freedom of the Press
February 2, 2015
African heads of state recently gathered in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, for the 24th summit of the African Union. While discussions focused on high-profile continental crises such as the Boko Haram insurgency and the Ebola epidemic, an important phenomenon was, unsurprisingly, left off the agenda: the deteriorating situation for political and civil liberties in much of East Africa.
A Burundi court’s decision to sentence a journalist to life in prison on terrorism charges for simply interviewing an alleged terrorist shows a flagrant disregard for press freedom and sets a dangerous precedent in a country already hostile toward the media.
Freedom House released an analysis of democracy in sub-Saharan Africa showing that the region has experienced notable increases in freedom over the past generation, although more setbacks than gains were seen in 2006.
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