Rwanda Media Commission has recommended to the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) that the website Rwandapaparazzi.rw be suspended for one month. This was a decision reached by the RMC Ethics Committee in a complaint filed by NZEYIMANA Hussein and NIYONKURU Radju against the website.
The complainants claimed that the website published a story alleging that the two are male sex workers or gigolos, locally known as “abapfubuzi”, in a story with a headline “Biryogo: Abasore 2 baratungwa agatoki n’abakobwa batari bake mu Biryogo ko ari abapfubuzi b’abagore bakuze. AMAFOTO” (“Biryogo: Two young men accused by many girls in Biryogo of sleeping with older women: PHOTOS”) which was published on March 12, 2015 authored by KAWERA Ronald.
According to Commissioner Prince BAHATI, RCM’s Ethics Committee found that the website Rwandapaparazzi.rw deliberately published unfounded slanderous and defamatory statements against Hussein NZEYIMANA and Radju NIYONKURU.
He said: “According to Article 2 of the Rwanda Journalists and Media Practitioners Code of Ethics, a journalist shall consider slander, abuse, libel, defamation and groundless accusations against individuals, groups of individuals, businesses, associations as the most dangerous professional misconduct.”
“The article published by a news outlet Rwandapaparazzi.rw which is headed by MUGISHA Frank (VD Frank) was in doubt and have not been factual,” He added.
The recommendation of suspending Rwandapaparazzi.rw for one month has been made based on the Memorandum of Understanding between Rwanda Media Commission (RMC) and Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) of September 12, 2013, in its Article 4, section 6 stipulating that “Rwanda Media Commission shall have the responsibility to propose to the Authority to suspend or revoke the license previously granted to media Organ in case of violation of any Law and regulations relating to media in Rwanda.”
This decision comes after several meetings RMC held with online newspapers perceived as frequently spreading obscenities and slanderous stories. The objective of the meetings was to remind each other about journalists and media practitioners’ obligations to the code of ethics vis-à-vis obscenities and violence reporting, resulted in recommendations and devotion to respect the Code of Ethics.