Journalists working with local community radio stations have been urged to play their watchdog role by practicing responsible and accurate reporting.
Addressing journalists from RC HUYE and Radio SALUS during the 1st phase, day two of the Awareness Campaign to popularize the mandate of Rwanda Media Commission (RMC) – The Media Self-Regulatory in Rwanda; RMC commissioner Mr. BAHATI Prince noted that local media should strike a balance between freedom and social responsibility that benefits the communities they operate in, by avoiding unverified and inaccurate reports/ broadcasting.
He said free media is essential for democracy and community development and asked journalists to observe the Rwanda Journalists and Media Practitioners Code of Ethics, and always verify their stories to avoid misreporting, plagiarism and sensationalism.
The 1st phase of RMC Awareness Campaign covered 5 community radio stations based outside Kigali (4 radios from the Southern Province: Radio Maria, Radio HUGUKA, RC HUYE, Radio SALUS and 1 radio station from the Western Province: Radio ISANGANO).
Prince BAHATI said local community radio stations should make use of the airwaves and broadcast educative materials and development programmers that properly informs members of the public as a contribution to fighting ignorance.
He reiterated the government’s commitment of implementing comprehensive media reforms meant to create a free, independent, professional and vibrant media sector.
From these reforms came the Law No 02/2013 of 08/02/2013, Law regulating Media that provided for Media Self-Regulation and set the process for the Media Self-Regulatory Body, an independent body established and managed by journalists.
On the 3rd day of the campaign, Emma Claudine NTIRENGANYA, another commissioner, during discussion with Radio ISANGANO, a community radio station located in KARONGI district, Western Province, said that journalists should not use the power of journalism to damaging other people’s image.
“You must not use the power of journalism to malign or defame other people,” she said.
At the same time, Commissioner Emma Claudine urged the media practitioners to be responsible and verify information before going to press.
The Rwanda Media Commission has been mandated by the Law regulating Media in Rwanda with functions such as accreditation of journalists and registration of media outlets to ensure professional standards in the media industry.
RMC regards the awareness campaign as very vital to the achievements of its principal mission to represent the broader interests of media in Rwanda and to effectively ensure compliance with the Code of Ethics.
This ongoing campaign is aimed at creating awareness of the Rwanda Media Commission’s mandate; discussing current trends in the media profession and ways of overcoming them; disseminating of the Journalists and Media Practitioners Code of Ethics, and mobilization of the media houses and their journalists to seek accreditation as provided by Rwanda Media Law and the memorandum of understanding signed between RMC and Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority.
The 2nd phase of the Awareness Campaign will involve the Eastern, Northern and Western provinces, with visits to community radio stations namely RC NYAGATARE, IZUBA community radio, Radio ISHINGIRO, RC MUSANZE, RC RUSIZI and RC RUBAVU.
More photos of the Campaign: