Senegal: BBC Afrique fires journalist over a controversial interview on the role of France in Rwanda

Journalist Jaques Matand, who worked for BBC Afrique based in Dakar, Senegal was dismissed after being accused of 'a serious mistake' following the interview he did with journalist Charles Onana about his recent book on the role of the controversial French military intervention in 1994 during the genocide of Tutsi in Rwanda.


The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today joined the Syndicat des professionnels de l’information et de la communication (SYNPICS) in condemning the decision and urging the BBC to reinstate the journalist.

The interview of the journalist, a Congolese national and General Secretary of the SYNPICS BBC Section, with Franco-Cameroonian Charles Onana on his book was broadcast on BBC radio and published on its website in November 2019. 

According to the SYNPICS, the BBC said that the Rwandan government had lodged a complaint, reportedly accusing the BBC of being unfair, biased and inaccurate and threatened legal action against the broadcaster.

SYNPICS considers the decision to summarily dismiss Jacques Matand an act of intimidation and harassment against its journalists and called on the BBC French service for Africa to respect the laws of Senegal, the country it broadcasts from.

Congolese media and journalists' unions have also publicly condemned the firing and launched a social media campaign , calling on the BBC to  reconsider its decision.

The General Secretary of the IFJ, Anthony Bellanger, said: “BBC management and editors must take responsibility for the content of their programmes, including interviews. It is unacceptable for any media organisation to fire a journalist allegedly under pressure from governments over its broadcast. The IFJ calls on the BBC to reinstate Jacques Matand.