Burundi’s president urged to allow re-opening of media outlets ahead of elections 

Journalists with tape on their mouths gather on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day in Bujumbura, Burundi, 3 May 2015.

June 24, Bujumbura: The International Press Institute (IPI) on Tuesday joined a coalition of international press freedom organisations in calling on Burundi’s president to take steps to improve media freedom ahead of upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections.

The leaders of 15 groups in an open letter urged President Pierre Nkurunziza, who is seeking a third term in office in a poll scheduled for July 15, to allow shuttered media outlets to reopen and operate without interference.

They also called on Nkurunziza to ensure that journalists and media workers who fled the country amid recent violence are allowed to return safely without the threat of prosecution or persecution. Parliamentary elections in the country are scheduled for June 29.

Burundi has seen unrest since Nkurunziza announced in April that he would seek another term. Clashes erupted between opposition activists and security forces, and in mid-May elements of the armed forces attempted to mount a coup, which ultimately failed. Media have reported that dozens have died in the violence, but the government has claimed those numbers are inflated.

The Oslo Times

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