Newspapers in Burkina Faso
Burkina Faso has a relatively lively pressure for African conditions. There
are three newspapers, among others. the independent Observator Paalga (edition:
about 8,000 copies) and state-owned Sidwaya (about 3,000 copies).
The state-owned company Radiodiffusion Nationale du Burkina (founded
in 1959) broadcasts in two national and two regional radio channels in French
and local languages. There are also private radio stations. State television,
Télévision Nationale du Burkina (TNB), has been broadcasting since 1963
in a channel dominated by imported French programs; TNB also broadcasts the
French channel TV 5. There are 35 radio and 12 TV receivers per 1,000 residents
Burkina Faso is famous for the Fespaco Film
Festival, the largest on the continent. The festival is
held every two years in the capital Ouagadougou. Burkina
Faso has become a center for African filmmaking.
Idrissa Ouédraogo, who has made films such as Yaaba
and Tilaï, is the most famous Burkina director
(1954–2018). Other prominent Burkina film directors
include Sanou Kollo, Paul Zoumbara and Gaston Kaboré.
The latter runs a film school in Ouagadougou.
Latest population statistics of Burkina Faso, including religious profiles and major languages spoken as well as population growth rates in next three decades.
Burkina Faso is also known for its masks, which are
used in rituals within the traditional indigenous
religions. Common motifs are the animal faces and images
of spirit beings.
Groups of traditional professional musicians are
common. They travel around and tell family and chief
chronicles through their music at parties and
Freedom of the press and freedom of
expression are governed by the Constitution, but there
is a law that makes it possible to ban media that
disseminates false information or threatens the nation's
security. Still, the audacity in the press is great
compared to many other West African countries.
Burkina Faso ranked 46 out of 180 countries in the
organization Reporters Without Borders Index of Media
Freedom in the World 2015. The situation for the media
deteriorated during the troubled period following
President Compaore's resignation in October 2014 when a
military-backed transitional government took over. In
connection with the takeover, journalists were harassed
by the military and editors were forced to close
temporarily. Initially, they took control of the
country's etheric media. The situation improved
gradually and in December 2015 Burkina Faso got a new
civilian head of state through free and general
One case that has attracted considerable attention
for a long time is the 1998 murder of Norbert Zongo,
editor of the government-critical journal l'Indépendant.
The murder triggered a political crisis (see Modern
History) and has affected the Burkinian media climate. A
brother of former President Compaoré has been singled
out for involvement in the murder, but he has never been
brought to justice. A charge brought against a member of
the president's life guard was dropped in 2006. The
following year, two journalists at L'Evénement magazine
were sentenced to conditional imprisonment and fined for
defamation by Compaoré after submitting a critical
report from the Reporters Without Borders organization.
The previously accused man died in 2009 and other
suspects are also reported to be dead. In March 2015,
the investigation into the Zongo murder was resumed and
in December the same year three members of Compaore's
old life guard were indicted.
Widespread illiteracy contributes to the fact that
there are only a handful of newspapers, all with small
editions. The largest are the privately owned
L'Observateur Paalga and Le Pays as well as the state
daily Sidwaya. Both are now also available on the
internet. In addition, a number of journals are
published, both in French and in local languages.
Newspapers are largely read only by the middle class in
The most important source of information for the
majority of the population is the state radio RTB (Radiodiffusion-Télévision
du Burkina), which reaches across the country and
broadcasts in several different languages. In the cities
it has competition from a large number of privately
owned radio stations, mainly in Ouagadougou. Foreign
radio stations such as the British BBC, American Voice
of America and French Radio France Internationale also
broadcast freely in the country.
Television broadcasts have since 2006 reached all
over Burkina Faso. In addition to the state television
company TNB (Télévision Nationale du Burkina), there are
a number of privately owned TV channels.
Fewer than five percent of the population has access
to the Internet (2015). Most people who use the internet
connect via mobile. Broadband subscriptions usually cost
more than an average annual income.
FACTS - MASS MEDIA
Percentage of the population using the
16 percent (2017)
Number of mobile subscriptions per 100
The National Assembly adopts new electoral laws
For example, a party must have received at least
three percent of the votes in the previous election in
order to be entitled to party support, and the size of
the support must be determined by the number of seats a
party receives in the election. Another change is that
at least 30 percent of the party's candidates must be