To the east of the Democratic Republic of Congo is where Burundi is located; Central African region. Burundi gained independence on July 1, 1962 and has since been plagued by tension between the usually-dominant Tutsi minority and the Hutu majority. The ethnic violence sparked off in 1994 made Burundi the scene of one of Africa’s most obdurate conflicts. With a population of 10.4 million, Burundi is the 2nd poorest country in the world. President Nkurunziza’s government, reelected in 2010, still faces many economic and political challenges. The total dependency ratio is 89.2% with a population growth rate of 3.28%.
President: Pierre Nkurunziza. (Bid for re-election to a third term.)
Official Language: French & Kirundi
Population: 10.4 million
National Anthem: Burundi Bwacu (Our Burundi)
Media and Freedom Of expression landscape in Burundi
In June 2013 President Nkurunziza approved a new media law which critics condemned as an attack on press freedom. The law forbids reporting on matters that cloud “undermine national security, public order or the economy”. Burundi’s media are subject to occasional government censorship. Media outlets and journalists continued to face arrests and legal harassment in 2014 leading to self-censorship particularly within the private media. Newspapers readership is limited by low levels of literacy and incomes. Radio is the main source of information for Burundians. There were 176,000 internet users by the end of 2011. Online publication remains minimal mainly due to low literacy rates and poor internet access.
The Conseil National de la Communication (CNC) is Burundi’s broadcast regulation authority; a state agency which oversees the enforcement of media laws in the country. Though established to protect and promote freedom of expression in Burundi, the CNC has been accused by media rights advocates as stifling free expression through various sanctions issued to media organisations for criticising the government. The Burundian Union of Journalists (UBJ), an independent body and Observatoire de la presse burundian (OPB) a self-regulatory body also seek to promote and defend media rights in Burundi.
Click here for more information about freedom of expression in Burundi: Freedom House.
For more information about Burundi visit BBC country profiles.