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