The premises of the Burkinabe investigative newspaper The Event were sealed by the authorities due to a tax dispute, a decision deplored on Sunday June 4 by the Society of Private Press Publishers (SEP) which denounces “an instrumentalization of the tax authorities”.
“The headquarters of the newspaper was indeed sealed Friday morning by the tax service”told AFP the director of publication of the fortnightly investigation, Atiana Serge Oulon. “It is difficult not to make the link between the work of this investigative newspaper and its closure manu militari by taxes”said MS in a statement on Sunday. “The instrumentalization of the tax authorities and public services in general to silence dissenting voices or to bring to heel those who prevent them from going in circles is a dangerous and counterproductive enterprise which must be abandoned”continues MS.
Burkina Faso has been led since September 2022 by Captain Ibrahim Traoré, who came to power by a putsch, the second in a year. At the end of March, the transitional government assured that it would remain “fundamentally attached” to freedom of expression, a few days after the suspension of the broadcast of the France 24 channel. At the beginning of April, the correspondents of the French dailies of the World and of Release had been expelled from the country.
Since 2015, Burkina Faso has been caught in a spiral of violence perpetrated by jihadist groups linked to the Islamic State and Al-Qaeda, which have left some 10,000 dead – civilians and soldiers – according to NGOs, and some two million moved.
According to a report by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) published in April, the Sahelian strip, of which Burkina Faso is a part, is threatened with becoming “Africa’s largest no-information zone”. The local and international press is facing a “constant degradation” of its working conditions for ten years, specifies the report covering Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Chad, but also the north of Benin, faced with similar security challenges.