UN slams 'negative' Burundi media law
06 June 2013, 13:22
New York – The UN leader Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday slammed a
new law passed by Burundi's government that he said would have a "negative
impact" on press freedom.
President Pierre Nkurunziza approved the law, widely
condemned by media watchdogs and rights groups, on Tuesday.
"The secretary general regrets that a new media law in
Burundi was promulgated with provisions that may have a negative impact on the
freedom of the press," said the UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky.
"He emphasises that the right to freedom of expression
and pluralistic and free media are essential components of a healthy democracy."
Ban called on the Burundi government "to ensure that
its legal framework is aligned with the country's democratic tradition, as well
as the international human rights standards to which the country holds itself",
the spokesperson added.
The law, adopted by Burundi's national assembly in April,
weakens the protection of sources, restricts investigative reporting and
requires all journalists to have a university degree regardless of experience.
It also bans the dissemination of "information or
documents" on defence topics or information considered enemy propaganda or
liable to hurt Burundi's economy.
The Reporters Without Borders advocacy group has said the
new law marks a "black day for freedom of information in Burundi".