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Burundi: Antoine Kaburahe, director of Iwacu, awarded by the City of Paris 0

Antoine Kaburahe, director of Iwacu – among the very few editorial private groups now left in Burundi – has won a medal from the City of Paris for his bravery in journalism. Dubbed a “hero of information”, Kaburahe has continued his work, despite the increasing crackdown and dangers faced by journalists and media in the country.

Iwacu is private weekly publication, media partner of Afronline and Infos Grands Lacs. It is also the last independent media to appear in Burundi after the forced closure of the country’s radio stations on the orders of President Pierre Nkurunziza. Worried for his safety since the attempted coup in May 2015, during which the authorities refused to distinguish between the coup plotters and journalists who continued to inform the public about the political situation of the country, Antoine Kaburahe left Burundi for Belgium, where he is now living.

The medal from the City of Paris was presented to Kaburahe and three other journalists, at an event organised by Reporters without Borders on the eve of World Press Freedom Day.

“He has demonstrated courage to continue working in Burundi: a country in crisis, where almost all private media have been destroyed”, said Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris. “Bravo for your courage, Iwacu. The prize is our sign of recognition”, continued Christophe Deloire, Secretary general of Reporters without borders (RSF). “These medals go well beyond the symbol. They are a real support for men and women who sometimes risk their lives for the freedom to inform their citizens and which are examples for their colleagues around the world”. Antoine Kaburahe is one of these examples.

“I salute the courage of Antoine because I know how  difficult the situation of journalists in Burundi is. Most of them are now in exile”, said the Secretary general of the International Organisation of La Francophonie, Michaëlle Jean, who then went on to state that he is aware of the constant onslaught against the media and those who persist in the field. “You are doing an absolutely outstanding job,” she said.

by Staff

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