Media Black Out following a Massacre
On September 18, 2011, a group of gunmen attacked the village of Gatumba, near the country’s capital Bujumbura where they killed 30 people. The following day, the CNC imposed a 30 day total media blackout on any information about the incident. Communication Minister Concilie Nibigira justified the one-month ban on the grounds of “guaranteeing peace and security” and ensuring “the successful conclusion of the investigations.” Those who defied the ban would be in breach of the 2003 press law, she said.
On September 21, however, five private radio and television stations defied the ban. They worked together and conducted round tables, debates and analyses about the Gatumba massacre. After this breach, the communication minister declared that the one month governmental ban should be respected. She promised that investigations into the breach would be undertaken and a decision would be issued in due course. To date, no sanctions have been reported against the five media houses.