“Although the Rwanda Media Commission is only a one year old, your work ascommissioners is vital. Your mission – to promote free, responsible, and accountable media – places you at the center of protecting and promoting the universal human rights of free speech and a free press which are the cornerstone of democracy.” This is the statement made by H.E. Ambassador Donald W. Koran this 05th November 2014 in a visit to the Rwanda Media Commission, whose purpose was to recognize the Commission’s work in advancing media self-regulation in Rwanda and to learn more about the work of the Commission. During this visit, H.E. Donald W. Koran commended RMC for having in mediated in just one year numerous concerns brought by citizens, journalists, a person in prison, a senator and media houses, and different disputes; and he further commended RMC for its emphasis on the importance of working towards an amicable resolution of disputes.
Among the clarifications the Ambassador sought was on the roles and policies of the Rwanda Media Commission, especially in regard to the recent case of the suspension of the British Broadcast Corporation Kinyarwanda broadcasts in Rwanda.
Talking to the media, Fred MUVUNYI, RMC Chairman said that while RMC absolutely acknowledged that BBC committed grave ethical and professional mistakes and breaches in its controversial documentary film “Rwanda, Untold Story”, the action taken by the government in suspending the BBC, Kinyarwanda services was not the best way forward.
“We have raised our concerns, and that was very important, it’s up to the government to listen to us or not, but we did what we were supposed to do; we have also discussed with different stakeholders on this issue and we know that at our level, that is very important”, he said.
“At the same time, Rwanda Media Commission recognizes the importance of responsible and accountable journalism which serves the public interest, reports the news with integrity, and acknowledges when editorial mistakes are made”, he added.
RMC, the Self-Regulatory Body of the Media in Rwanda affirms the following assertion for its way forward to accomplish its duties and responsibilities:
– Free Media contribute to Good Governance, Empowerment and Eradicating Poverty, Media is important for facilitating good governance and transparency.
– Regulatory reform of media is a necessary step in the direction of good governance and development.
– Press freedom and good governance are not mutually exclusive. They support each other while promoting a country’s economic and human development
– The Rule of Law is a prerequisite for ensuring safety of Journalists and Combating Impunity