IFJ Calls for Thorough Investigation into Arson Attack on Radio Presenter’s Car in Burkina Faso

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today called on the authorities of Burkina Faso to conduct a thorough investigation into the recent burning of radio presenter, Sams' K le Jah’s car and death threats issued against him.

Karim Sama, who is better known as the singer and radio presenter “Sams' K le Jah,” makes frequent reference to the assassinations of former president Thomas Sankara and the journalist Norbert Zongo in his music and on his popular show on private radio station Ouaga Fm in the capital Ouagadougou.

“We condemn this act, which is a serious threat to the freedom of expression,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of the IFJ Africa office. “His attackers are clearly trying to intimidate journalists and media workers who are interested in sensitive subjects like the assassinations of President Sankara and Norbert Zongo.”

The IFJ also called on the police and judicial authorities to conduct a thorough investigation into the arson attack and death threats against Sams' K le Jah and to bring those responsible to justice.

On the night of September 28 while he was on the air the presenter was told by a guard that his car, which was in the car park of the station’s building, was on fire. According to local sources, the car was completely consumed by the fire before fire-fighters arrived. The guard said he did not see the arson attack. Police have started an investigation.

According to Jean-Claude Meda, President of the Association of Journalists of Burkina Faso (AJB), Sams' K le Jah has already received death threats via email in April and telephone calls before that. In the threats he received, the presenter was told to stop criticising the ruling regime and to stop referring to Thomas Sankara and Norbert Zongo.

“These acts remind us of painful events,” said Meda, “[including] the arson attack on the car belonging to Alidou Ouédraogo, President of the Burkinabe Movement of Human Rights and the same scenario of pressure and threats which led to the assassination of Zongo, whose body was found burnt in his car.”

For more information contact the IFJ at + 221 842 01 43

The IFJ represents over 600,000 journalists in 114 countries worldwide