WAJA Condemns Military Take Over in Burkina Faso. The West African Journalists Association (WAJA) has described as shameful, the Military’s continued disruption of the freedom and happiness of the people of Burkina Faso. The Military seized power on Wednesday after taking prisoner the President, his Prime Minister and two cabinet members.
This happened as over a hundred journalists [including the WAJA President], academics, human rights defenders and other professionals assembled in Ouagadougou this week for the annual International Festival of Freedom of Expression and Press, which ended prematurely.
Participants from around the continent and other parts of the world had been discussing the contribution of the media in the changing political atmosphere in Africa when they were slapped with yet another violent change.
Following a popular uprising that ousted former president Blaise Compoare a year ago, transitional authorities in the country were preparing to administer general elections on October 11, 2015, which now unlikely.
A joint statement signed by the Association of Journalists of Burkina Faso and other media groups in the country indicates that journalists and media outlets have already been attacked and forced to shut down in the aftermath of the coup.
WAJA joins its affiliate in denouncing the coup and the attending violence against the media and calls for the restoration of civil order.
“It appears that these people know the importance of media that’s why they could run to the national broadcaster to announce the coup, but at the same time they launch an attack on other radio stations and
Brutalized journalists. This is simply unintelligent,” WAJA President Peter Quaqua lamented.
While calling for the release of the Transitional President Michel Kafando and others, WAJA also insists on the immediate release of all foreign journalists and other nationals being held hostage in Burkina Faso on account of closure of the borders including the airport.
WAJA will hold the coup leader personally responsible for any damages caused any of its members in the wake this disruption.
WAJA represents the fifteen journalist associations/unions in West Africa.