The Rwanda Media Commission (RMC) and UNESCO have produced five videos on media regulation for wide dissemination in the Republic of Rwanda. The project was generously supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the Government of Sweden. The videos were produced to build awareness amongst journalists, media practitioners, government officials, and the general public concerning current media laws, standards, and the basic rights of journalists and those involved in the profession. The videos provide general information on a number of principles required for a healthy democratic society where journalism is openly practiced, and freedom of expression is encouraged and not compromised by threats or other forms of intimidation and violence. The videos are also useful as they instruct individuals on current media law and direct individuals to relevant legal articles for the specific text.
The five videos cover the following topics:
- Protection of Sources discusses the fundamental principle that sources of information need to be protected and free from harm, threats and intimidation; anonymity is an important principle to help ensure that individuals do not fail to provide information for threat of retaliation and is key for exposing corruption in government;
- Complaint Handling discusses the role of RMC in handing complaints by any individual who may feel aggrieved by content in the media; it covers information on how an individual can lodge a complaint and the procedures RMC follows including its reliance on the code of ethics;
- Media Plurality provides information on the importance of there being many voices and opinions in the media for ensuring high quality and responsible content and in maintaining a healthy democracy; it discusses individuals rights to start a media organisation and how to do so;
- Safety of Journalists sheds light on the problem of journalists’ safety in conducting their trade; it explains the role of RMC in protecting their rights and that it takes action whenever journalists are attacked, imprisoned, kidnapped or harassed; and
- Journalist Accreditation provides information on the role of media to facilitate a well-functioning democracy and in particular that journalistic accreditation by RMC is an important lever for accessing all sources of public information allowing media practitioners to carry out their investigations fully and without hindrance.
The videos will be disseminated widely on the RMC website, through social networks, and through various other platforms. They will be important for strengthening a culture of freedom of expression and openness in journalism and media in general to reinforce a cohesive and flourishing society.