Communications in Burundi

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Communications in Burundi include radio, television, fixed and mobile telephones, the Internet, and the postal service in Burundi.

Radio and television[edit]

Radio is the main source of information for many Burundians.[1]

The BBC World Service broadcasts on 90.2 FM in the largest city and former capital, Bujumbura, and on 105.6 in Mount Manga; Radio France Internationale and the Voice of America are also available in the capital.[1]


  • Calling code: +257[2]
  • International call prefix: 00[6]
  • Telephone system:
    • In 2011, system described as sparse open-wire, radiotelephone communications, and low-capacity microwave radio relays; telephone density one of the lowest in the world; fixed-line connections stand at well less than 1 per 100 persons; mobile-cellular usage is increasing but remains at roughly 20 per 100 persons;[2]
    • In 2010, system described as “primitive” with “one of the lowest” telephone densities in the world and “increasing … but meager” use of cell phones; the number of fixed-line telephone connections was far fewer than one per every 100 persons; roughly five cell phones in use per 100 persons; the domestic telephone system consists of open-wire, radiotelephone communications, along with low capacity microwave radio relay.[3]
  • Main lines:
    • 17,400 lines in use, 193rd in the world (2012);[2]
    • 30,400 lines in use, 178th in the world (2008), a decrease from 2006;[3]
    • 35,000 lines in use (2006);[7]
    • 27,000 lines in use (2005);[5]
    • 17,000 lines in use (1995).[4]
  • Mobile cellular lines:
    • 2.2 million lines, 140th in the world (2012);[2]
    • 480,600 lines, 156th in the world (2008),[3] a large increase, almost doubling the figure from 2006;
    • 250,000 lines (2006);[7]
    • 153,000 lines (2005);[5]
    •        343 lines (1995).[4]
  • Satellite earth stations: one station, operated by Intelsat in the Indian Ocean region (2008).[2]


Internet censorship and surveillance[edit]

There are no government restrictions on access to the Internet or credible reports that the government monitors e-mail or Internet chat rooms.[14] Operating in a turbulent political climate, Burundi's media are subject to occasional government censorship and may practice self-censorship.[1]

The constitution and law provide for freedom of speech and press, and the government generally respects these rights. The law prohibits the media from spreading "hate" messages or from using abusive or defamatory language against public servants acting in their official role that could damage the dignity of or respect for the public office. Libel laws prohibit the public distribution of information that exposes a person to "public contempt" and carry penalties of prison terms and fines. The crime of treason, which includes knowingly demoralizing the military or the nation in a manner that endangers national defense during a time of war, carries a criminal penalty of life imprisonment. It is a crime for anyone knowingly to disseminate or publicize false rumors likely to alarm or excite the public against the government or to promote civil war. It is illegal for anyone to display drawings, posters, photographs, or other items that may disturb the public peace. Penalties range from two months' to three years' imprisonment and fines. Some journalists, lawyers, and political party, civil society, and NGO leaders allege the government uses these laws to intimidate and harass them.[14]

The constitution and law provide for the right to privacy, but the government does not always respect this right in practice. Authorities do not always respect the law requiring search warrants.[14]

Postal Service[edit]

Régie Nationale des Postes (RNP, National Postal Administration) is responsible for postal service in Burundi. Operating as an independent state-owned company since 1992, the RNP has reported to the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Posts and Tourism since 2010.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Burundi profile: Media", BBC News, 5 June 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Communications: Burundi", World Factbook, U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, 7 January 2014. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d e f "Burundi", World Factbook, U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, 1 April 2010. Retrieved 9 April 2010.
  4. ^ a b c "Burundi", World Factbook, U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, 2001. Retrieved 23 April 2001.
  5. ^ a b c d "Burundi", World Factbook, U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, 2006. Retrieved 8 September 2006.
  6. ^ Dialing Procedures (International Prefix, National (Trunk) Prefix and National (Significant) Number) (in Accordance with ITY-T Recommendation E.164 (11/2010)), Annex to ITU Operational Bulletin No. 994-15.XII.2011, International Telecommunication Union (ITU, Geneva), 15 December 2011. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  7. ^ a b c d e "Burundi", World Factbook, U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, 2009. Retrieved 19 August 2009.
  8. ^ a b Calculated using penetration rate and population data from "Countries and Areas Ranked by Population: 2012" Archived 2017-03-29 at the Wayback Machine, Population data, International Programs, U.S. Census Bureau, retrieved 26 June 2013
  9. ^ "Percentage of Individuals using the Internet 2000-2012", International Telecommunications Union (Geneva), June 2013, retrieved 22 June 2013
  10. ^ "Fixed (wired)-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants 2012", Dynamic Report, ITU ITC EYE, International Telecommunication Union. Retrieved on 29 June 2013.
  11. ^ "Active mobile-broadband subscriptions per 100 inhabitants 2012", Dynamic Report, ITU ITC EYE, International Telecommunication Union. Retrieved on 29 June 2013.
  12. ^ Select Formats Archived 2009-05-13 at the Wayback Machine, Country IP Blocks. Accessed on 2 April 2012. Note: Site is said to be updated daily.
  13. ^ Population, The World Factbook, United States Central Intelligence Agency. Accessed on 2 April 2012. Note: Data are mostly for 1 July 2012.
  14. ^ a b c "Burundi", Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2012, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. Department of State, 10 April 2013. Retrieved 24 January 2014.
  15. ^ "Post to Burundi: Historical" Archived 2013-09-14 at WebCite (in French), Régie Nationale des Postes. English translation. Retrieved 24 January 2014.

External links[edit]