On 12th December 2014, the Rwanda Media Commission, Media Self-Regulatory Body has held its Third Ordinary General Assembly Meeting that aimed at assessing RMC achievements within one year of its establishment, to share and recommend to possible solutions and to address the current challenges facing media self-regulation in Rwanda.
The event was held at Sports View Hotel, in Kigali and involved participants from Rwanda Utilities and Regulatory Agency and US Embassy representative, Non-Governmental Organizations, Local journalists and media institutions, local media owners and media managers among others.
While opening this General Assembly, Mr. Fred MUVUNYI, RMC Chairman, said that the Third Ordinary General Assembly was aimed at assessing RMC’s achievements in its one year of existence.
According to MUVUNYI, the Rwandan media industry has improved compared to the previous years, as journalists continue to cover and report their stories in an objective and professional manner.
“The RMC was set up a year ago and since then we have received 49 complaints of which 39 have been resolved, which indicates that this organization is essential to deal with issues affecting the media sector and promoting and safeguarding professional journalism,” Muvunyi said.
According to the chairman, since its formation, the Commission has established partnerships with several government and international organizations which include among others the Rwanda Governance Board, Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority, and the United Nations Development Program, which helped the body to operate more efficiently.
Mr. Fred MUVUNYI noted that after setting up RMC, the number of journalists who used to face harassment and arrests from government institutions, especially the police, has drastically reduced as the institution now advocates for press freedom on their behalf.
“Although the objective of setting up RMC was to promote press freedom, and responsible and accountable media, there is a need for the media practitioners to avoid making destructive stories but rather articles which reflect the interests of society.” He highlighted.
Rwanda Media Commission Challenges (one year after its establishment)
Despite of the progress so far made by the RMC, Fred MUVUNYI, RMC Chairman noted that the organization still faces a number of challenges which include insufficient funds to run all its activities, adding that their operational costs are still high compared to the work they execute (activity costs).
In addition, some institutions and media houses still don’t understand RMC mandate and lack professionalism in journalism, which is why the organization in collaboration with other stakeholders will continue to focus on awareness campaigns among the media practitioners on how they can improve their professionalism and to clearly understand RMC’s duties, responsibility as well as its mandate.
The Rwanda Media Commission has three mandates: defending media freedom, speaking on behalf of the media especially for the promotion and protection of ethical principles as well as press freedom, and protecting and nurturing ethical journalistic practices in the country.
It was instructed by law no. 02/2013 of 08/02/2013 concerning media regulation, especially in its article 2, and established by Rwandan journalists in their general assembly of August 27, 2013.
During this 3rd Ordinary General Assembly, Mr. Fred MUVUNYI, RMC Chairman proclaimed the Commission new staff and acknowledge their hard work within only one month they operated.
– Mr. NDAYISABA Julius: Executive Secretary
– Mr. SIBOMANA Eugene: Communications and Public Relations Officer
– Mr. IBAMBE Jean Paul: Legal Officer
– Mrs. NDAYIKUNDA Lydia: Legal Officer
– Mr. MUNYENTWALI Jean Maurice: Media Monitoring and Accreditation Officer
– Mr. HABIMANA Gilbert: Accountant