Burundi’s media regulator, the National Communication Council (NCC), has lifted the ban it placed on the BBC three years ago.
The UK public broadcaster had its operating licence withdrawn in Burundi 2019, with NCC ruling it had breached press laws and engaged in unprofessional conduct, stopping its operations in the East African country.
The ban came after the BBC was suspended in 2018 for airing a documentary about the Burundian security services that the NCC claimed was incorrect and violated Burundi’s media laws.
The regulator’s president, Vestine Nahimana, said: “The council took the decision to allow BBC radio to start operating immediately after a request from the broadcaster. President Évariste Ndayishimiye had initiated the easing of restrictions on sanctioned news outlets.
“The current president, who is [former Burundi president Pierre] Nkurunziza’s chosen successor, came to power after winning elections in 2020 – a few months earlier than expected as Mr Nkunrunziza died in office. Since he has been in power, frosty relations with the US and EU have eased. Sanctions were lifted in February after what Washington called ‘significantly decreased violence’ and some political reforms.”
According to the BBC, at the time of the ban, there were 1.3 million BBC viewers and listeners in Burundi.