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Experts call for establishment of a media fund

Media issues in Rwanda are no longer to do with “access to information” but rather “how to make money and build capacity of journalists.”

This was the key message that media practitioners and investors echoed during a media breakfast organised last week at Kigali Serena Hotel.

Speakers noted that the main reason behind the sloppy growth of media sector in the country is lack of financial capacity by media players to invest and grow.

The head of Media Investors Forum Charles Kakooza, said that although great strides have been made in the media sector, more needs to be done to make it more professional and economically powerful.

Recounting how he started TV1, under harsh circumstances – only to break even a year-plus later – Kakooza said that, without economic sustainability in Rwanda’s media, the sector won’t be able to thrive and practitioners won’t grow professionally. “The media sector needs a financial boost. Setting up the media fund is one way we can kick poverty out of the media sector. It is important that development partners and government help in establishing this fund to spur the growth of the sector,” Kakooza said.

Kakooza also believes that media development can’t be achieved without cooperation from both public and private sector.

Several development partners and government officials, who spoke to The New Times at the media breakfast, shared similar sentiments; they believe that weak financial capacity has cost the media profession in the country, hence making its contribution to the national development relatively less.

Cleophas Barore, the Chairperson of Rwanda Media Commission (RMC)

The forum in Kigali that brought together development partners and media personnel was organised by Rwanda Governance Board.

“I think the quality of media in general can be improved,” said Mikael Bostrom, Counsellor and head of Development cooperation at the Embassy of Sweden.

Bostrom added that media development in general needs sustainable financing and that media sector must to find a way to self-financing to grow independently.

According to the Rwanda Media Barometer 2016, media sector grew by only 8.9 per cent in the last three years.

Prof. Anastase Shyaka, the Chief Executive Officer of RGB said that having a media fund will solve numerous issues in the sector and will certainly enable a vibrant media sector that is free, professional, responsible, and profitable.

Cleophas Barore, the Acting Chairperson of Rwanda Media Commission (RMC)—a media self-regulatory body—said that the fund would enable journalists and media investors to access finances for investment and other endeavours at  little interest .

Lamin M. Manneh, the UN Resident Coordinator, however, acknowledged that the introduction of media reforms and the constitution of the media laws have been vital in transforming the sector.

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Rwanda Media Commission (RMC) and UNESCO Release Videos on Media Self-regulation in Rwanda

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:

  1. 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;
  2. 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;
  3. 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;
  4. 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
  5. 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.

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RMC mourns Mr. Emmanuel RUSHINGABIGWI [mentor in media sector]

It is with sadness and deep sorrow that Rwanda Media Commission learned the untimely death of the veteran journalist Mr. Emmanuel RUSHINGABIGWI, who until his death, yesterday, Sunday, 20th March 2016 was a mentor in the media sector.

 

Rwanda Media Commission joins all Rwandans in expressing its condolences to bereaved family, the entire media fraternity and the Rwandan nation for the loss of a journalist and mentor in media sector par excellence.

 

Mr. RUSHINGABIGWI contributed in the development of Rwanda’s media sector by sensitizing Rwanda journalists and media practitioners on their rights, responsibilities and obligations towards rising professionalism and responsibility in the media sector.

 

He will be missed for his charm, his courage, zeal, skill and his willingness to share his ideas with us all.

 

Rwanda Media Commission’s deepest sympathies and heart also go out to the family of Mr. RUSHINGABIGWI, especially the wife and his children.

 

May the Almighty Lord sustain the bereaved family during this difficult time, and may Mr. RUSHINGABIGWI Emmanuel soul rest in eternal peace.

 

Kigali 21st March 2016

Rwanda Media Commission

[Media Self-Regulatory Body]

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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;

 

Besabesa

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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