Friday, April 5, 2013

Burundi Cracks Down on Press Freedom

Coat of arms of the Republic of Burundi.
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The landlocked Central African nation of  Burundi, recently emerged from a decade-long civil war, took a step backward this week when the National Assembly passed a media law that the country's journalism union condemned as an unconstitutional assault on press freedom.

Reuters news service reports the bill, which requires senate approval before President Pierre Nkunrunziza can sign it into law, subjects offending journalists to fines ranging from $2,000 to $6,000 and bars the media from reporting about public safety, national defense or the plunging national currency that lost 14 percent against the U.S. dollar last year. New York-based Human Rights Watch cautioned that the government has been attempting to stifle press criticism of violence perpetrated by the current regime.

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