Harare, Zimbabwe (News of the South)-Authorities in Burundi have banned the BBC and Voice of America (VOA), as well as two local broadcasters, just weeks before a crucial constitutional referendum on presidential term limits.

 

The National Communications Council (NCC) said on Friday that the news organisations’ operations would be suspended for at least six months for breaching the “laws governing the press and ethics.”

 

The ban will come into effect on Monday, Karenga Ramadhani, the head of the regulator, told journalists in the capital, Bujumbura.

 

The NCC said the BBC invited a Burundian who made “inappropriate, exaggerated, non-verified [remarks], damaging the reputation of the head of state, to ethnic hatred, to political conflict and civil disobedience”.

 

VOA, for its part, was accused of spreading “very tendentious” information and hiring a journalist “sought by Burundian justice”, according to AFP news agency.

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