With Support from UNESCO and the Government of Sweden, series of media interaction sessions organized and conducted jointly by Rwanda Media commission and Rwanda National Police that engaged the public order and law enforcers (Police & DASSO Officers), members of the media fraternity and local government officials as well, were concluded with call and commitment to partnership between the media, public order and law enforcers and local government.
Since April to 11th July 2017, six (6) media interactions sessions were conducted between the media and police under the theme: “Strengthening Partnership for Quality Service Delivery.”
During the period, the interactions took place in form of outreach seminars on the following dates: Eastern Province: on 8th June 2017, Western Province: on 30th June 2017, Northern Province: on 6th July 2017 and Southern Province on 7th July 2017 with a climax meeting that took place at Rwanda National Police Headquarters on 11th July 2017.
Speaking to the participants at the closing media interaction session held at Rwanda National Police Headquarters, the Guest of Honor, The Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Hon. Busingye Johnston commended the growing trends of media professionalism in Rwanda and reiterated the need for responsible and professional coverage of Presidential election processes. “…Today we have the most professional media that is diverse, well informed, and serving the interest of the people.” He noted.
The Hon. Minister further commended RMC and RNP for organizing the media interaction sessions, and called for more collaborative efforts between the Police and media as well as the public to particularly ensure that, the forthcoming presidential campaigns and elections are conducted in a safe and secure environment.
“The election preparations are meant to ensure that rights of everyone are fully respected, and security maintained through collaborative efforts among all actors including the general public,” Minister Busingye said.
The meeting was also attended by the Inspector General of Police (IGP), Emmanuel K. Gasana, Deputy IGP in charge of Operations, Dan Munyuza, the Executive Secretary of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Charles Munyaneza, the Executive Secretary of Rwanda Media Commission (RMC),Senior Government Officials, Media practitioners, representatives of different media development partners and senior Police officials among others.
During the meeting, Rwanda National Police and the Electoral Commission guaranteed the safety of journalists and access to information during elections.
The Executive Secretary of Rwanda Media Commission presented to the participants the guidelines for media coverage of elections which mainly reminded the journalists there duty to the nation, to the public (electorate) and to the candidates.
Over 600 booklets of the code of ethics were distributed in these media interaction sessions to help the participants and the general public understands better the rights and obligation of journalists and their role in society.
Almost all sessions conducted at provincial levels provided a platform of dialogue and in-depth discussions between journalists, governors, high ranking security officers and local government leaders mainly district mayors. Commitments to put in place mechanisms meant to enable the effective access to information by journalists including their protection on duty were made in all provinces where these dialogues were conducted.
Also a number of resolutions were recommended and adopted during the meetings and most of them were focusing on guaranteeing the effective service delivery to the public. The major outcome of these media interaction session is the advancement of an enabling environment for media to serve its role in promoting accountable governance. It was recommended also that such interactions should be conducted on regular basis to enhance the working relations with the media as a key partner in national development.
In pictures, the 11th Media Police interaction session:
From Left to Right, ES of NEC, IGP, Minister of Justice, Deputy IGP and ES of RMC