IFJ Condemns Conviction of Burkina Faso Journalists Accused of Connecting President’s Brother to Journalist’s Murder

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the jail sentences for two journalists, charged with slandering François Compaoré, brother of the President of Burkina Faso.

Sued for articles they published in the biweekly newspaper L’Evènement, Editor-in-chief Germain Bitiou Nama and Editor Newton Ahmed Barry were accused of saying François Compaoré, brother of the President of the Republic of Burkina Faso, was involved in the murder of journalist Norbert Zongo.

On 22 January Barry and Nama were given a two-month suspended prison sentence and fined 300,000 Francs CFA (about €458) each. The charges stemmed from the 25 October 2006 publication of a story run on the front page of the paper with the headline: “Norbert Zongo case, so it’s him?” and a photograph of François Compaoré.

“We protest against this judgment and we support the journalists of L’Evènement in their appeal,” said Gabriel Baglo, Director of IFJ Africa Office. “François Compaoré should have understood after all these years that nothing can undermine the determination of the Burkinabé journalists to reveal the truth on the assassination of Zongo.”

The trial of the two editors started on 8 January 2007 at the court of Ouagadougou for press slandering of François Compaoré, younger brother and special adviser to President Blaise Compaoré.

According to Jean Claude Méda, President of the Association of Journalists of Burkina Faso (AJB), this trial is an attempt “to bury definitively the case Norbert Zongo”.

“The AJB supports its colleagues at L’Evènement and invites all the journalists to show their solidarity” Méda said.

For further information contact the IFJ: +221 842 01 43

The IFJ represents over 500,000 journalists in more than 110 countries