The media in Burkina Faso consists of print media and state-supported radio, news, and television stations, along with several private broadcasters with programs consisting of sports, music, cultural, or religious themes.
In Burkina Faso, the authorities have periodically announced their respect for freedom of the media; RadioDiffusion Burkina states that the country's transmission facilities are open to "all political and social sensibilities". Privately owned newspapers, television, and radio stations are allowed. The Information Code of 1990 provided for freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
However, there are serious exceptions to this freedom. Critics have noted that these freedoms are in some degree circumscribed by self-censorship, as the government is sensitive to criticism. A revised Information Code, implemented in 1993, allows for news outlets to be arbitrarily banned if "accused of endangering national security or distributing false news." The Conseil Supérieur de la Communication (CSC), the government's Supreme Council on Information, is charged with media oversight. Additionally, non-legal constraints on critics of the government exist.
The mission statement of the state-owned Radiodiffusion-Télévision du Burkina (RTB) declares that its broadcast networks are "adapted" to the requirements of law and democratic pluralism. It emphasizes that journalists using public mediums are obliged to "respect the principles of ethics" with regards to "objectivity and balance" in the treatment of information.
In December 1998, journalist Norbert Zongo was murdered by unknown assailants, and his body burned. Since his death, the tragedy has been used by unidentified persons leaving 'warnings' to journalists and broadcast commentators critical of alleged government injustice and/or corruption.
In August 2002, police in Burkina Faso arrested Newton Ahmed Barry, editor-in-chief of the private monthly L'Evénement. Barry was held for two days before being released without charge.
Mathieu N’do, managing editor of the opposition weekly San Finna, was detained by authorities on November 5, 2004, as he was returning from Ivory Coast. His detention may have been linked to his journalistic work, which is often critical of the Burkina Faso government. In particular, N’do has been an outspoken critic of government policy in Ivory Coast where Burkina Faso has been accused of arming the rebellion. N'do was held incommunicado by Burkina Faso’s national security service in Ouagadougou until being released without charge on November 11.
Since the death of Norbert Zongo, several protests regarding the Zongo investigation and treatment of journalists have been prevented or dispersed by government police and security forces. In April 2007, popular radio reggae host Karim Sama, whose programs feature songs containing societal criticism interspersed with commentary on alleged government injustice and corruption, received several death threats. Sama's personal car was later burned outside the private radio station Ouaga FM by unknown vandals.
In response, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) wrote to the President of the Republic, Blaise Compaoré, to request his government investigate the sending of e-mailed death threats to journalists and radio commentators in Burkina Faso who were critical of the government. In December 2008, police in Ouagadougou questioned leaders of a protest march that called for a renewed investigation into the unsolved Zongo assassination. Among the marchers was Jean-Claude Meda, the president of the Association of Journalists of Burkina Faso.
Telephone, and telegraph services are available to Paris and to the neighbouring countries. In 2003, there were an estimated five mainline telephones for every 1,000 people; about 12,400 people were on a waiting list for telephone service installation. The same year, there were approximately 19 mobile phones in use for every 1,000 people.
Télévision Nationale du Burkina, the government-owned television transmitting station, was established in 1963. Transmissions are made six days a week and are received only in Ouagadougou and Bobo-Dioulasso. The government has been establishing public viewing centers. There is also one privately operated television station. In 2003, there were an estimated 433 radios and 12 television sets for every 1,000 people.
Two radio stations, one in Ouagadougou and one in Bobo-Dioulasso, are run by the government radio corporation Radiodiffusion Nationale. Broadcasts are in French and 13 indigenous languages, using both medium wave (AM) and FM frequencies. RTB also maintains a worldwide short-wave news broadcast (Radio Nationale Burkina) in the French language from the capital at Ouagadougou using a 100Kw transmitter on 4.815 and 5.030 MHz.
There are also several independent radio stations, as well as foreign radio services such as the BBC and Radio France Internationale (RFI 1 - Afrique) using satellite feeds. As of 2002, there were 3 AM and 17 FM radio stations, including:
17 FMs, including:
3 stations (as of 2002)
In 2003, there were 2.1 personal computers for every 1,000 people. 4 of every 1,000 people had access to the Internet. There were two secure Internet servers in the country in 2004.