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'Radio Resistance' in Burkina Faso off-air

Fred Muvunyi September 25, 2015

Radio Resistance FM goes off-air, 48 hours after the coup leaders bowed to local and international pressure to hand over the power to civilian rule. The radio initiative came to fight back the coup leaders’ propaganda.

Burundi Radiostation Radio Isanganiro
Image: picture alliance/blickwinkel/Blinkcatcher

The soldiers who staged a coup in Burkina Faso silenced most privately-owned radio and TV stations and controlled the state-owned national TV broadcaster, RTB.

At the same time, other members of the presidential security regiment quickly surrounded RTB headquarters, forced privately-owned radio and TV stations in Ouagadougou to suspend broadcasting, and roughed up several journalists.

"We were forced to go into newsrooms and come up with stories without verifying them." One reporter in Ougadougou who preferred anonymity said.

In this tense and dilemma situation, "Radio resistance" was started and it could be heard on airwaves at 108.0 FM.

Under Burkina Faso's media legislation, the radio is illegal because it's not officially registered.

Symbolbild Afrikaner mit einem alten Radiogerät
Burkina Faso people left with no credible news after coup leaders silenced media.Image: picture alliance/africamediaonline

Though illegal, Burkinabes in the capital, Ougadougou, have an alternative view.

"We were lucky to have had a radio that feeds us information." A woman in Ougadougou told DW. "The Internet connection was bad and the telephone lines were completely terrible," she added.

Interim President Michel Kafando and his Prime Minister Yacouba Isaac Zida were reinstalled on Wednesday and government soldiers who had remained loyal to the government withdrew from the capital, Ouagadougou.

The officially registered media houses are now back in business. François Yesso, the Deputy Director of Radio PULSAR says his radio station was forced to halt its programs but "we are back on air today and in the coming days we shall continue with our programs as they were before."

Individuals behind resistance radio initiative, plan to go off-air since the crisis is almost over and life is back to normal. A man behind the initiative of using the media as means of fighting back the coup leaders says its time to stop the programs.

"I don't think it's good to have the radio station programs on air. In a few hours, all the programs will be stopped." A Burkinabe who preferred anonymity said. He added that “the plan was to have it on air in case of a coup or other disasters."

However, the broadcasting authority in Burkina Faso was caught in surprise when they heard about the radio. The director of technical department says, "we must be careful with these ‘ghost' media in times of crisis considering their missions and their legal recognition."