In Burkina Faso, DW Akademie promotes information access and a critical examination of the media by focusing on young journalists, media literacy for young people and sustainable strategies to counter disinformation.
In 2015, following the collapse of the 27-year autocratic regime of Blaise Compaoré, a democratically elected government came to power with Roch Marc Kaboré at the helm. He and his government were ousted in a military coup in January 2022, and in a further coup eight months later, 34-year-old Captain Ibrahim Traoré became the country’s new president. Burkina Faso’s political environment has long been unstable and has become symbolic for the spread of terror in the Sahel region. Thousands of people have died in terrorist attacks since 2015, and approximately two million people have been internally displaced.
In terms of press freedom, Burkina Faso was often seen as an African success story and was ranked 41st out of 180 countries on Reporters Without Borders’ 2022 World Press Freedom Index. However, while the media benefitted from newfound freedoms following the ousting of Campaoré, the tightening of the country’s penal code in June 2019 has put journalists at risk. For example, media professionals who report on military operations have received sentences of up to ten years in prison. The increase in violence and political instability pose serious risks to journalists as well as access to information.
Burkina Faso’s population lacks adequate access to verified, relevant and locally focused information and is increasingly exposed to disinformation, especially through social media. This is especially the case for rural women, young people and internally displaced persons who also have few opportunities to make their voices heard. Extremist terrorist organizations have further aggrevated the situation. Neighboring Mali and Niger face similar challenges.
DW Akademie’s projects enable vulnerable populations in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger to have better access to verified local information and opportunities to participate in social discourse. Given security issues in the region, DW Akademie also promotes social cohesion and strengthens the resilience of disadvantaged populations to radical propaganda.
Fasocheck, a project partner, trains media workers paricularly from community radio stations in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger, to verify and fact-check information. Together with Réseau d’Initiatives de Journalistes (RIJ), DW Akademie develops innovative dialogue formats that focus especially on disadvantaged groups. The platform for conflict-sensitive journalism PaxSahel focuses on fact-checking and innovative dialogue formats, and distributes them regionally via networks in Mali and Niger. To ensure these opportunities are used, the non-governmental organization EducommunicaAfrik develops modules targeted at specific groups for teaching Media and Information Literacy (MIL).
Funding: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Program Director: Carine Debrabandère
Locations: Ouagadougou, Ziniaré, Ouahigouya, Banfora, Fada N’Gourma
Local partners: Faso, La Voix du Paysan, Radio Vénégré, Radio Munyu, Radio Tin Tua, EducommunicAfrik, Réseau d'Initiatives de Journalistes (RIJ, Ouagadougou), Réseau des Journalistes Sensibles aux Conflits (Niamey, Niger), Réseau SKBo (Sikasso Mali), Centre National de Presse - Norbert Zongo
Focus: Social participation, qualification, participation of disadvantaged groups, (local) interactive media content and community media, conflict and the media/conflict-sensitive reporting, journalistic professionalism and networks, Media and Information Literacy (MIL)