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Law No 02/2013 of 08/02/2013 regulating media to be revised

On 18th March 2016, Rwanda Media Commission, in cooperation with Rwandan Journalists Association, ARJ, conducted a consultative meeting with journalists and media practitioners to discuss inputs to the Rwanda Media Law revision.

 

In response to a request from the Rwanda Law Reform Commission, this consultative meeting aimed at promoting and ensuring a free, independent and pluralistic media and enhance media Public accountability in Rwanda through laws and regulations.

 

 

During this plenary session, the following topics were used to provide guiding principles, an overview and background for the participants: Ensuring a free, independent and pluralistic media Protection of Sources; Confidential Information; Decriminalizing defamation; Actions against violence, harassment and intimidation of journalists; Media Public accountability obligation; Preserving Local Content; Statutory regulation of media and Advertisement services.

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NTWALI John Williams discussing with other journalists during the consultative meeting/ Photo: SIBOMANA Eugene

 

According to the letter from Rwanda Law Reform Commission [RLRC] addressed to the Chairman of Rwanda Media Commission, the revision of the Law No 02/2013 of 08/02/2013 regulating media follows the recent revision of the Constitution, including the provision related to offences and penalties.

 

The letter states: “In order to fast-track and ensure the smooth running of this exercise [Reform of Law No 02/2013 of 08/02/2013 regulating media], I would like to requested your institutions to send us inputs,/comments on some non-penal provisions that you consider to have gaps or have proven to be a concern in their implementation, and thus need to be reviewed and reformed in the process.”

 

This consultative meeting discussed several issues in the media law especially:

  1. Article 2: Definitions, Paragraphs: 7o, 19o, 20o and 21o;
  2. Article 3: Rights to exercise the profession of Journalism;
  3. Article 4: Regulation of the Media;
  4. Article 5: Obligations of a Journalist;
  5. Article 6 Prohibited publications to a journalist;
  6. Article 10: Modalities for Seizure;
  7. 13 Respect of Journalist confidentiality; and
  8. Art 20. Enforcement of Provisions of this Law.

 

During this meeting, it has been a great opportunity for media practitioners and journalists to highlight that ensuring a free, independent and pluralistic media based on freedom of information and expression, as defined by Rwandan Constitution and the Law regulating media in Rwanda, is a core element of democracy.

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Different media practitioners in plenary discussions /Photo: SIBOMANA Eugene

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Mr. BURASA Jean Glaubert [Manager of RUSHYASHYA Newspaper] and Mr. NDAMAGE Frank [Chief Editor of IMVAHO NSHYA Newspaper/ Photo SIBOMANA Eugene

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Participants taking relevant notes / Photo: SIBOMANA Eugene

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Marcel, one among experienced journalists arguing about the Media Law reformation / Photo: SIBOMANA Eugene

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UNDP Country Director_Rwanda congratulates RMC for its successes

UNDP Country Director_Rwanda congratulates RMC for its successesUNDP Country Director_Rwanda congratulates RMC for its successesUNDP Country Director_Rwanda congratulates RMC for its successesUNDP Country Director_Rwanda congratulates RMC for its successesUNDP Country Director_Rwanda congratulates RMC for its successesUNDP Country Director_Rwanda congratulates RMC for its successesUNDP Country Director_Rwanda congratulates RMC for its successesUNDP Country Director_Rwanda congratulates RMC for its successesUNDP Country Director_Rwanda congratulates RMC for its successesUNDP Country Director_Rwanda congratulates RMC for its successesUNDP Country Director_Rwanda congratulates RMC for its successesUNDP Country Director_Rwanda congratulates RMC for its successes

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RMC offers condolences following sudden death of journalist MAHORO Jean de Dieu [Giovanni]

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RMC offers condolences following sudden death of journalist MAHORO Jean de Dieu [Giovanni]

Kigali 25 January 2016

 

PRESS RELEASE – The Rwanda Media Commission – RMC [Media Self-Regulatory Body] extends condolences to the family and friends of the late MAHORO Jean de Dieu [Giovanni].

 

Mr MAHORO Giovanni passed away suddenly Today January 25th, 2016 at the age of 29. He was a dedicated journalist whose professionalism gained him the respect of his peers.

 

Mr. Cleophas BARORE, Ag. Chairman of RMC, said: “I have learnt with deep shock the untimely death of MAHORO Jean de Dieu [Giovanni], who until his death on Today morning was an accomplished journalist and broadcaster at Radio Salus [a community-training based radio station of the University of Rwanda, located in Huye district] for almost 5 years.

 

I therefore join colleagues in the county in expressing condolences to the bereaved family of the late journalist, Radio Salus [Radio of the University of Rwanda] and the entire media fraternity, for the loss of a journalist par excellence.

He will be missed for his charm, his courage, his zeal, his skills and his willingness to share his ideas with all. That’s due not only to his distinguished career and work ethic but to his warm character and his good nature. He represented his profession with dignity and integrity.”

 

The Rwanda media fraternity suffers a loss in his passing and the Rwanda Media Commission, in the name of the media fraternity, Commissioners and Staff offer their thoughts and prayers for Giovanni’s family and friends to be comforted during this difficult time of grief, and may his soul Rest In eternal Peace.

 

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UNDP Country Director_Rwanda congratulates RMC for its successes

Friday, 15 January 2016, The United Nations Development Programme [UNDP], Rwanda Country Director Mr. Stephen Anthony Rodriques congratulated Rwanda Media Commission upon the enormous work done by a committed small team in tackling media ethical issues in Rwanda.

 

“We [UNDP] acknowledge a lot of work done by a small team of RMC for tackling media ethical issues and promoting media freedom in Rwanda.” He said during the visit at RMC offices. He reassured the RMC team that the partnership between UNDP and RMC will continue and even grow stronger as Rwanda enters the next electoral cycle, in which the media’s role will be of utmost importance.

 

Mr Rodriques later shared his commendation of RMC with his Twitter followers with the following tweet:. “Great meeting committed RMC team. Salute your efforts on Press Freedom and ethics in Journalism,” he wrote on his Twitter Wall.

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In his speech, Mr. Cleophas BARORE, the acting Chairman of RMC recognized the role of UNDP in providing vital support for the media sector in Rwanda especially self-regulation and enabling the development drive that is being carried out through leading initiatives undertaken since the self-regulatory body was established in August, 2013.

 

Mr. Emmanuel MUGISHA, the RMC Executive Secretary explained the key programs carried out by the body, namely; the promotion of ethical services of media, ensuring journalists accountability and rights through complaint handling and promotion of media literacy and a self-regulatory system.

 

He emphasized that production and dissemination of literacy materials in digital media formats to the public and media clubs in secondary schools, effective online complaints handling, database and publication: case rulings, annual reports, and newsletter, are key elements in promoting media literacy and media self-regulatory systems in general.

 

Prior to Mr. Stephen’s visit, on Thursday, 14 January 2016, RMC welcomed Mr. Bodo Immink, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) Country Director in Rwanda who also commended RMC for its efforts in implementation of its key programs:

  • Accreditation of journalists and new media organs registration;
  • Handling public and journalists complaints, investigations and advocacy;
  • Media content monitoring, analysis and reporting;
  • Code of ethics trainings, publicity and media standards administration

 

To date, RMC has received 118 complaints, 105 have been full handled and 13 are still pending; whereas 552 journalists have been accredited among over 800 operating in Rwanda.

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Mr. Stephen A. Rodriques, UNDP Country Director [Rwanda]
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RMC Team and development partners in a group photo

 

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Police and Media play complementary roles – Media experts

 

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The duties of police and those of the media aim at building safer and developing societies for sustainable nationhood, media experts said yesterday.

 

The experts were speaking during the Rwanda National Police and Media interaction session  which was held at force’s headquarters in Kacyiru under the theme “The role of Media in Security and Crime Prevention.”

 

It brought together about 100 local media practitioners.

 

Dr. Christopher Kayumba, a journalism lecturer at the University of Rwanda noted that both the Police and media “work for the people.”

 

“The role of a journalist is to inform the public and help them build their societies for sustainable security and development. Countries die when their residents are not informed, when there is no security, so there is no security when there is no law and order,” Dr. Kayumba said.

 

“Be informed before you inform, know what to ask and who to ask. Both police and media should base their information on facts to inform help the public but not to deviate them.” He noted that media plays a vital part in good governance and security.

 

Emmanuel Mugisha, the executive secretary of Rwanda Media Commission (RMC) echoed the same message noting that ensuring security and crime prevention is implied in the media code of ethics.

 

“What we are discussing here today is nothing new… It is part of the media ethical standards. As media, we should be challenged… aspects of security and crime prevention are also part of our duties,” Mugisha said.

 

“The code of ethics talks about universal declaration of human rights, tolerance, democracy, social progress and national cohesion respectful of each citizen, which all lead to crime prevention and building safer societies,” he added.

 

These codes of ethics prohibit inciting violence and hatred. If you have doubt on what you want to report, better leave it until you are very sure and this fulfills article 3 on social responsibility. We should build civic journalism through strong partnership.”

 

Chief Supt. Celestin Twahirwa, commissioner for Public Relation and Media, said RNP understand and value media as a tool for awareness and public sensitisation against crime,  adding that the force has taken various initiatives in line with the media law.

 

Among them is ensuring accountability through daily reports on the police website, active social media (YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, soundcloud) and decentralizing the spokesperson’s office to the regional level.

 

He, however, challenged them on misrepresentation and reporting based on rumors, citing an example of recent cases involving killing of motorcyclists, which was hyper reported to increase the number of those killed to eight instead of two.

 

“The media facilitates justice and like the police, represents the interests on the public, but it can be evil if used unprofessionally with destructing propaganda and creating panic,” CSP Twahirwa said.

 

Meanwhile the two entities adopted eleven recommendations to ensure partnership in community policing initiatives.

 

They include forging strong partnership to fight and prevent crimes, organize period training on crime reporting and organize an annual joint anti-crime awareness week, among others.

 

Posted on: Rwanda National Police [www.police.gov.rw]

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Rwanda Media Commission (RMC) concerned by the arrest of Journalist BESABESA MIVUMBI Etienne in BURUNDI

After learning that a journalist who has been working for three media houses in Rwanda namely Radio Izuba, Radio Flash and Igihe.com, who goes by the names BESABESA MIVUMBI Etienne, was arrested by the security agencies of Burundi since Monday, June 08, 2015;

 

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BESABESA, Radio IZUBA, Flash FM and igihe.com

Rwanda Media Commission (RMC) is deeply concerned by the arrest of the Rwandan Journalist BESABESA MIVUMBI Etienne, and requests Rwandan security organs to urgently cooperate with their Burundian counterparts in following with the issue of the detained journalist.

 

Rwanda Media Commission (RMC) urges Burundian authorities to ensure the security of the journalist BESABESA MIVUMBI Etienne and his work equipment and urges them to release him with immediate effect.

 

Download the full statement here (English)

Download the full statement here (Kinyarwanda)

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Rwanda Media Commission Scoops Global Prize – WSIS

Rwanda Media Commission (RMC), the Media Self-regulatory Body in Rwanda, has scooped a global prize in tackling the ethical dimensions of the information society at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) currently underway in Geneva, Switzerland. The prize award ceremony was conducted on 26th May 2015, at the headquarters of the International telecommunication Union (ITU) in Geneva, Switzerland.

WSIS Prizes

WSIS Project Prizes – 2015/ WSIS – Geneva

RMC project has been submitted in the category “Ethical Dimensions of the Information Society”. RMC’s project is titled “Tackling Ethical Dimensions of Online Media Content through Self-regulation”.

The project summarizes the impact of the fast growing online media sector on media regulation in Rwanda, and how RMC as a media self-regulatory body is dealing with the ethical and professional dimensions of this sector. It highlights RMC’s approach which includes regular meetings with online news editors based on the Code of Ethics, regular conversations with editors when ethical gaps are noted, and a plan of developing online complaints handling procedures.

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RMC Executive Secretary Julius NDAYISABA with ITU SG Houlin Zhao / WSIS – Geneva

The WSIS Project Prizes is a unique recognition for excellence in the implementation of WSIS outcomes and provides a platform to identify and showcase success stories and models that could be easily replicated and particularly recognize the efforts of stakeholders for their added value to the society and commitment towards achieving WSIS goals.

Besides participating in the Summit, attended the launch of the publication “WSIS Stocktaking: Success Stories 2015”, which is a compilation of the extended descriptions of the 18 winning projects, including RMC’s project; participate in the winners’ exhibition through display of posters and other visibility materials about the work of RMC, participated in the Knowledge Café on Innovation, at which they presented a narrative on how innovation is relevant to RMC’s project and work; and participated in an interview by an International Telecommunications Union (ITU) videographer for all prize winners.

The Summit, which started Monday 25th May 2015, ends today this Friday 29th May 2015.

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World Press Freedom Day: Promoting media freedom through self-regulation

 World Press Freedom Day: Promoting media freedom through WPFDself-regulation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Message from Rwanda Media Commission on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day 2015

In March 2013 the Rwanda Media Commission was born as part of the wide ranging media reforms in Rwanda. In terms of the broader significance to media freedom, this was a pivotal moment in the sense that it marked the exact moment of media shifting from statutory regulation to self-regulation. Although the Media Law provided for a Media Self-Regulatory Body, it was predicated on journalists themselves forming such a body, which they did, and named it the Rwanda Media Commission. As we celebrate the World Press Freedom Day 2015 therefore, we are also celebrating the institutionalization of the recognition that while media freedom must be exercised within the broader recognition of the rights of others, it is through self-regulation that the delicate balance between the right to free expression and the responsibility that comes with it can be achieved.


This year’s theme “Let Journalism Thrive! Towards Better Reporting, Gender Equality and Media Safety in the Digital Age”, directly speaks to the mandate of RMC. As the media self-regulatory body, our mandate is three-fold:

  • To promote, nurture and protect ethical journalism practices through regulating the daily functioning of the media and the conduct of journalists;
  • To defend media freedom; and,
  • To speak on behalf of the media fraternity as a whole, especially in regard to protection of ethical practices and media freedom.

In the last two years, we have raised the profile of the media fraternity as a sector capable of, through peer-review mechanisms, handling issues related to the media sector.

For example, as of April 2015, we have handled a total of 70 cases, with 21 cases coming from journalists/media, 44 cases from the public, and 5 cases from government institutions and officials. Except for two cases under appeal, the rest of the cases have been amicably resolved and both complainants and respondents contented. Besides the cases, we have cultivated a fruitful relationship with key government institutions such as the Rwanda National Police-CID and the office of the public prosecutor, who have, on some occasions, referred cases of media nature to us. For us, this is a measure of the confidence and support for the principle of self-regulation. As Prof. Guy Berger, the UNESCO Director for Freedom of Expression and Media Development has argued, self-regulation is preferred for its capacity to enhance professional standards as opposed to statutory regulation, which, on the contrary, tends to give governments control over who says what and therefore restricts the free flow of ideas.

In spite of many achievements from different fronts, and as the theme for this year’s celebrations suggests, there are emerging challenges that threaten professional journalism. The capabilities provided by the digital age which include the ability to publish individually and from anywhere, the ability to instantly disseminate news, pose new challenges of ensuring that the core values of journalism such as accuracy, truth and verification are adhered to. Rwanda, with its prioritized investment and promotion of new technologies as a model of development, provides a good case study in dealing with these challenges. According to our records at RMC, about 90 news websites have emerged over the last few years. This means that quantitatively, online publishing supersedes the mainstream media sector of newspapers, radio and TV combined. But that may not be the case qualitatively. There are challenges that instant online publishing poses. Besides the less focus on verification and the pressure to be the first to publish, there is the illusion of invisibility or anonymity that online platforms provide. This illusion, and lack of proper verification processes, tends to let in forms of speech and expression, such as hate speech and personal attacks that do not conform to the principles of meaningful dialogue that the media is supposed to support. All these challenges put immense pressure on a regulatory body like RMC.

But as UNESCO reminds us, in these circumstances, self-regulation can provide the defense for the integrity of journalism. As the self-regulatory body, we are working out modalities of tackling the ethical dimension of online content. By doing this, we are looking straight into the future of journalism, that is, digital publishing, but without losing sight of the core, old fashioned values of journalism – truthful, accurate, qualitative and independent reporting. As we celebrate the World Press Freedom Day 2015, let us remind ourselves that the core purpose of journalism is to provide a constructive platform for the exchange of ideas as a basis for promoting an informed citizenry that is a prerequisite for democracy.

Other relevant statements by Different Institution on the 2015 World Press Freedom Day can be viewed at

The New Times: World Press Freedom Day 2015

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World Press Freedom Day Joint statement from the European Heads of Mission in Rwanda (03/05/2015)

World Press Freedom Day Joint statement from the European Heads of Mission in Rwanda (03/05/2015)

On 3 May World Press Freedom Day will be celebrated across all continents.  On this day, we are reminded of the importance of freedom of expression as part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Freedom of expression is one of the essential foundations of the European Union, and it goes together with a free and independent media environment. Independent media constitutes one of the cornerstones of a democratic society.  It facilitates the free exchange of information and ideas, enables human rights, and exposes injustice, abuse and corruption in our societies.

The EU Heads of Mission encourage Rwanda to continue its ongoing media reforms.  The new media laws introduced in 2013 showed the importance that Rwanda places in an open and vibrant media, including underlining the journalistic right of opinion and expression, self-regulation, and prohibition of censorship. The Rwanda Media Commission plays a central role through its self-regulatory mechanism in the application of these reforms. Several EU Member States have helped to support these advances with funding and technical know-how.

The EU is committed to advancing freedom of expression globally, and we look forward to continue working with the Government and people of Rwanda to realise this commitment.

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Journée mondiale de la liberté de la Presse – 3 Mai 2015

Déclaration conjointe des Chefs des Missions diplomatiques de l’Union européenne au Rwanda

La journée mondiale de la liberté de la presse sera célébrée le 3 mai à travers le monde. Cette journée est l’occasion de rappeler l’importance de la liberté d’expression comme partie intégrante de la Déclaration Universelle des Droits de l’Homme.

La liberté d’expression est un fondement  essentiel de l’Union européenne qui va de pair avec des médias libres et indépendants. L’indépendance de la Presse constitue une des pierres angulaires de toute société démocratique. Elle est nécessaire à l’échange d’informations et des idées, et à la réalisation des droits humains. Elle permet, également,  de mettre en évidence les injustices, les abus et la corruption.

Les Chefs des Missions de l’UE encouragent le Rwanda à poursuivre  la réforme des Medias en cours. La nouvelle loi sur les médias adoptée en 2013 démontre l’importance que le Rwanda accorde à une presse ouverte et dynamique, soulignant notamment les droits des  journalistes à la liberté d’opinion et d’expression, d’autorégulation, et d’interdiction de la censure. La Commission rwandaise des Medias joue un rôle central dans l’application de ces réformes à travers son mécanisme d’autorégulation. Plusieurs Etats membres de l’Union européenne ont soutenu ces progrès par des financements ou des expertises techniques.

L’UE s’est engagée à promouvoir la liberté de la presse à l’échelle mondiale, et souhaite continuer à travailler avec le Gouvernement et le peuple du Rwanda pour concrétiser cet engagement.

 

Signed

Zoe Compston, Chargé d’Affaires a.i. of the British High Commission

HE Leoni Cuelenaere, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

HE Peter Fahrenholtz, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany

HE Michel Flesch, Ambassador of the French Republic

Maria Håkansson, Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of the Kingdom of Sweden

HE Arnout Pauwels, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Belgium

HE Michael Ryan, Head of Delegation, Delegation of the European Union

Source: Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Rwanda

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