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U.S. Ambassador Donald W. Koran recognizes RMC’s work

“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.

Fred MUVUNYI, RMC Chairman and H.E. Ambassador Donald W. Koran

Fred MUVUNYI, RMC Chairman and H.E. Ambassador Donald W. Koran

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

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RMC discuss the new media law with Rwandan police

On this 7th August 2014, at Rwanda National police headquarter, there happened a consultative meeting of Rwanda media commission/self regulatory body with Rwandan national police’s Criminal investigation department with an objective of explaining Rwandan media law to police, to build a strong partnership and talk about other issues related to Rwandan media.

RMC Chairman during presentation

RMC Chairman during presentation

Fred Muvunyi, the Chairman of Rwanda media commission explained the recent Rwanda media law, RMC mandate and he emphasized on a good partnership of Rwandan Police and Rwandan journalists,

One of the policemen who were in the meeting said that this consultative meeting was helpful to them because it helped in making the attendees to have a clear understanding on how RMC works.

Fred Muvunyi explains the RMC responsibilities said that the police is a key partner in institutionalizing media self-regulation in Rwanda.

Fred Muvunyi, the RMC chairman, explained the main role of a journalist Supt. Jean Marie Vianney Ndushabandi said that this meeting helped the police to know RMC and it reinforced the partnership of RMC with police.

Participants during meeting

Participants during meeting

Supt Jean Marie Vianney Ndushabandi participated in this meeting (the first from right).

Supt Jean Marie Vianney Ndushabandi participated in this meeting (the first from right).

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RMC boss tips journalists on balanced reporting

The chairman of the Rwanda Media Commission (RMC), Fred Muvunyi has urged Rwandan practicing journalists to be objective and balanced while reporting.

“Report impartially and shun companies that aim at corrupting and manipulating   your work,” advised Muvunyi.

Several complaints have been risen by Showbiz fraternity about being discriminated against in case they don’t follow suit about some major company requests, for example; journalists are ordered to dress in Bralirwa brand T-shirts to qualify to cover the ongoing Primus Guma Guma super star season four competition.

Muvunyi urged journalists to avoid being used as brand ambassadors for companies and instead serve public interests.

“I fully agree with journalists who chose not to dress in Brwalirwa brand T-shirts, it’s not ethical to use journalists for brand ambassadors,”   said Muvunyi.

Bralirwa and East Africa Promoters , the organisers of  Guma Guma competition say  wearing brand T-shirts is for journalist security.

Journalists request Bralirwa to come up with other security measures other than brand T-shirts.

Primus Guma Guma is an annual competition that promotes artists.

On the other hand, Rwanda Media Council   protects, regulates and ensures ethical reporting among Rwandan journalists.




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ARTICLE 19 trains Rwandan journalists on their changed role under new self-regulation law

ARTICLE 19 has helped train 100 journalists to take full advantage of their new rights and responsibilities under Rwanda’s press self-regulation law, enacted in March 2013 as a result of advocacy by ARTICLE 19 and its partners over the past decade.

The training and sensitization forums, which were the first ever held since the election of Commissioners to the Rwanda Media Commission (RMC) was organised in collaboration with Rwanda Journalists Association (ARJ) and RMC.

“Article 4 of the Media Law recognised self-regulation and bestowed new duties on journalists to ensure that they set up professional standards which are to be enforced by the new self-regulation body, the Rwanda Media Commission. These forums targeting 100 journalists are aimed at sensitising them on their responsibilities to ensure that self-regulation in Rwanda works,” said Henry Maina ARTICLE 19 Eastern Africa Director.

“While journalists campaigned heavily for media law amendments to allow self-regulation, not all are fully aware of the impact of the changes and responsibilities won by them. Therefore, these sensitisation forums are very important in ensuring self-regulation works and ethical journalism becomes entrenched in Rwanda. Our partnership with ARTICLE 19 will continue to deliver more sensitisation for Rwanda journalists,” said Gonzaga Umuganwa, ARJ Executive Secretary

Law N°02/2013 on regulating media (known as the Media law) was adopted on 11 March 2013, and brought a raft of media reforms among them the shift in regulation of  the media to journalists, a function previously executed by the government through the Media High Council.

“The forums have helped me understand the media law and self-regulation framework in Rwanda. I have to inform all my colleagues what I have learnt, since self-regulation affects all of us,” noted one of the forum participants.

ARTICLE 19 will continue to assist media institutions in Rwanda to develop self-regulatory mechanisms that will ensure a more comprehensive approach to developing and upholding media ethics and protect freedom of expression.

ARTICLE 19 analysis of the media law can be accessed

– See more at: http://www.article19.org/resources.php/resource/37323/en/rwanda:-article-19-trains-rwandan-journalists-on-their-changed-role-under-new-self-regulation-law#sthash.5qwkm0Fq.dpuf

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