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RMC Condemns the Violation of Rights of Journalists in the activities to select Miss Rwanda 2015

“Rwanda Media Commission (RMC) condemns the actions of the organisers of Miss Rwanda 2015 to block journalists from accessing information from the activities to select contestants because Miss Rwanda is a national pageant which concerns all Rwandans, and as such, is a matter of public interest.”

This is the statement made by  Mr. Fred MUVUNYI, Rwanda Media Commission Chairman during a press conference on Violation of Rights of Journalists in the activities to select Miss Rwanda 2015,  held today 27 January 2014 at RMC premises.


Mr. Fred MUVUNYI said that Rwanda Media Commission reprehended this action based on information obtained that some journalists have been denied access to information regarding the process of selecting Miss Rwanda 2015 by Rwanda Inspiration Back Up,  which is organizing the events.


He added also that RMC condemned this action after listening to the explanations given by the leadership of Rwanda Inspiration Back Up Ltd, that some journalists are denied rights to access some of the activities of Miss Rwanda 2015, due to agreements of exclusivity of rights signed between the organisers and Rwanda Broadcasting Agency (RBA), which limit full access by other media houses.


“RMC found also that two Journalists from IGIHE.com, (MUNYENGABE Sabin and KALINDA Brendah), in particular have been suspended by the organisers from covering or reporting on activities to select Miss Rwanda 2015 for their media outlet because of publishing a story critical of the selection process,” he added.

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According to Law No. 04/2013 of 08/02/2013 on Access to Information, in its Article 3, Clause 1: ‘Every person has a right to access information in possession of a public organ and some private bodies.’ The Article 10, clause 1 says ‘the provision of information is an obligation without fee’.


RMC Chairman, Fred MUVUNYI told the journalists that Rwanda Media Commission requests all parties—government institutions and private entities to consider reviewing the provisions of the laws before signing any agreements in regard to information and advertising to ensure that the rights of journalists to access information are not violated.


Mr. Fred MUVNYI admired also different public and private institutions that do all their best to impart information with journalists; and he also rendered thank to the Ministry of Sport and Culture to their assurance that what happened will not happen again.


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RMC Urges Journalists to be Responsible

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.

RMC Commissioners and staff at Radio Maria Studios

RMC Commissioners and staff at Radio Maria Studios – Day 1 Awareness Campaign


RMC Commissioner Cleophas BARORE on air at HUGUKA Radio Station

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:

– RMC Awareness Campaign Day 1- Radio MARIA and Radio HUGUKA

– RMC Awareness Campaign Day 2 – RC HUYE and Radio SALUS

– RMC Awareness Campaign Day 3 – Radio ISANGANO



ISANGANO Journalists in a group photo with RMC Staff and Commissioners


RMC Commissioners Me MUCYO Donatien and Dr. NKAKA Raphael on ISANGANO Radio

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RMC advises online newspapers on spreading obscenities

On Wednesday, 17th December 2014 the Rwanda Media Commission held a meeting with 10 online newspapers seen as higher newspapers in spreading obscenities; with objective of reminding each other about journalists and media practitioners’ code of ethics vis-à-vis obscenities and violence reporting.


Mr. IBAMBE Jean Paul, RMC Legal Officer emphasized on the journalists’ responsibilities, professional journalism ethics and how journalists have to respect their profession.


“Journalists and media practitioners must be aware of their responsibilities to the general public, serving the truth innate within our culture, upholding and preserving the respect and prestige of the press, being accountable,” he said.

Online Journalists and RMC staff in a meeting

Online Journalists and RMC staff in a meeting

The 7th article of the Rwanda Journalists’ and Media practitioners’ code of ethics was the cornerstone of the meeting. It states: “Violence and obscenities: a journalist shall avoid broadcasting or publishing news inciting violence or obscene news encouraging hostility or other illegal activities.


Prosper KWISANGA, Rwandapals.com owner asked when a journalist doesn’t have the right to publish a story referring while having facts about a certain issue.


According to the Rwanda Journalists and Media practitioners’ code of ethics amended on 5th April, 2014; the following are some restrictions during publications or broadcasts:


–      Article 4. Incitement to hatred: a journalist shall avoid broadcasting or publishing biased information inciting to racial, tribal, ethnic, religious hatred or hatred based on sex, age social status, disability, any disease or health status of the people mentioned or anything likely to serve as a basis for stigmatization.

–      Article 6: Respect for private life and human dignity: (b) a journalist should not open to ridicule the undergo including minors, the old, the bereaved and any other underprivileged person or communities.

–      Article 7: Violence and obscenities: a journalist shall avoid broadcasting or publishing news inciting violence or obscene news encouraging hostility or other illegal activities.

–      Article 8: Protection of minors and victims of rape: (b) She/he (a journalist) shall be careful not to identify the names of victims of rape whether minors or otherwise, take care not to publish their pictures and photos or details likely to lead to their identification, except if this serves the child’s interests.

–      Article 18: Presumption of innocence: (b) While handling any legal information, they (journalists) shall avoid establishing any individual’s relationship with the suspect, or referring to his or her ethnic group, tribe, religion, sex, family or friends, unless their mention serves public interest.(d) However, if suspects are less than 18 years of age, a journalist shall be careful not to broadcast or publish their pictures or photos.

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During this meeting, participants took a way forward of respecting journalists and media practitioners’ code of ethics.  They also devoted to respect Rwandan cultural values on the subject of obscenities reporting; and to work together with the Media Self-Regulatory Body (RMC) in implementing its mandate.

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3rd Ordinary General Assembly kicked off

On 12th December 2014, the Rwanda Media Commission, Media Self-Regulatory Body has held its Third      Ordinary General Assembly Meeting that aimed at assessing RMC achievements within one year of its establishment, to share and recommend to possible solutions and to address the current challenges facing media self-regulation in Rwanda.

The event was held at Sports View Hotel, in Kigali and involved participants from Rwanda Utilities and Regulatory Agency and US Embassy representative, Non-Governmental Organizations, Local journalists and media institutions, local media owners and media managers among others.

While opening this General Assembly, Mr. Fred MUVUNYI, RMC Chairman, said that the Third Ordinary General Assembly was aimed at assessing RMC’s achievements in its one year of existence.

According to MUVUNYI, the Rwandan media industry has improved compared to the previous years, as journalists continue to cover and report their stories in an objective and professional manner.

Mr. Fred MUVUNYI, RMC Chairman speaking during the 3rd Ordinary General Assembly

“The RMC was set up a year ago and since then we have received 49 complaints of which 39 have been resolved, which indicates that this organization is essential to deal with issues affecting the media sector and promoting and safeguarding professional journalism,” Muvunyi said.

According to the chairman, since its formation, the Commission has established partnerships with several government and international organizations which include among others the Rwanda Governance Board, Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority, and the United Nations Development Program, which helped the body to operate more efficiently.

Mr. Fred MUVUNYI noted that after setting up RMC, the number of journalists who used to face harassment and arrests from government institutions, especially the police, has drastically reduced as the institution now advocates for press freedom on their behalf.

“Although the objective of setting up RMC was to promote press freedom, and responsible and accountable media, there is a need for the media practitioners to avoid making destructive stories but rather articles which reflect the interests of society.” He highlighted.

Rwanda Media Commission Challenges (one year after its establishment)

Despite of the progress so far made by the RMC, Fred MUVUNYI, RMC Chairman noted that the organization still faces a number of challenges which include insufficient funds to run all its activities, adding that their operational costs are still high compared to the work they execute (activity costs).

In addition, some institutions and media houses still don’t understand RMC mandate and lack professionalism in journalism, which is why the organization in collaboration with other stakeholders will continue to focus on awareness campaigns among the media practitioners on how they can improve their professionalism and to clearly understand RMC’s duties, responsibility as well as its mandate.

The Rwanda Media Commission has three mandates: defending media freedom, speaking on behalf of the media especially for the promotion and protection of ethical principles as well as press freedom, and protecting and nurturing ethical journalistic practices in the country.

It was instructed by law no. 02/2013 of 08/02/2013 concerning media regulation, especially in its article 2, and established by Rwandan journalists in their general assembly of August 27, 2013.

Participants during the 3rd Ordinary General Assembly

Participants during the 3rd Ordinary General Assembly

During this 3rd Ordinary General Assembly, Mr. Fred MUVUNYI, RMC Chairman proclaimed the Commission new staff and acknowledge their hard work within only one month they operated.

– Mr. NDAYISABA Julius: Executive Secretary

– Mr. SIBOMANA Eugene: Communications and Public Relations Officer

– Mr. IBAMBE Jean Paul: Legal Officer

– Mrs. NDAYIKUNDA Lydia: Legal Officer

– Mr. MUNYENTWALI Jean Maurice: Media Monitoring and Accreditation Officer

– Mr. HABIMANA Gilbert: Accountant

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Rwanda Media Commission New staff

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Professional Journalism – Tips from Fred MUVUNYI, RMC Chairman  

“From a sad and shamefully biased, and hate media that played a part in the 1994 genocide, the media fraternity resolve to adopt, promote and abide by principles designed to build a strong, independent, vibrant and responsible media”, said Fred MUVUNYI


Mr. Fred MUVUNYI, Rwanda Media Commission Chairman uttered this to NiNyampinga Journalists during a Life Skills Workshop which took place this Wednesday 10th December, 2014; with a purpose of equipping Ni Nyampinga journalists with skills and tools to support them in their next steps, as they are coming to the end of their time with Ni Nyampinga.


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NiNyampinga Journalists in their Life Skills Workshop

During these trainings, Mr. Fred MUVUNYI said Rwandan media have often been blamed for being an instigator of the 1994 Genocide.


Regarding this, journalists, editors, and publishers are aware of their responsibilities to the general public, serving the truth innate within o culture, upholding and preserving the respect and prestige of the press, being accountable.


“The Code of Ethics instructs journalists to seek truth and report it, minimize harm, act independently, and be accountable. Meanwhile, this code was to build a professional journalism”, he said.


Holding a talk on “Overview of Local Media Law and Ethics with information on how to become a professional journalist” Mr. Fred MUVUNYI came up with some tips to stand a professional journalist:


–      The Professional Journalist does not spread false information. She/he does not write articles based on groundless assumptions or predictions.

–      The Professional Journalist does not use abusive, vulgar, or otherwise offensive language constituting a personal attack.

–      The Professional Journalist does not damage the reputation of others by composing articles that infringe on personal privacy.

–      The Professional Journalist does not use his position for unjust gain, or otherwise seek personal profit.

–      The Professional Journalist does not exaggerate or distort facts on behalf of himself or any organization to which he belongs.

–      The Professional Journalist apologizes fully and promptly for coverage that is wrong or otherwise inappropriate.

–      The Professional Journalist uses legitimate methods to gather information, and clearly informs his sources of the intention to cover a story.


Ni Nyampinga is a brand aimed at inspiring and enabling adolescent girls in Rwanda, with a mission to reframe and reposition the value of girls by creating a dynamic teen culture and positive collective identity for girls.


Currently Ni Nyampinga is a magazine and radio show – both designed to elevate the voice and agency of Rwandan adolescent girls, ad inspire decision makers and communities to believe in and actively foster her potential.


Attentive, NiNyampinga listening to RMC's Chairman guidelines

Attentive, NiNyampinga listening to RMC’s Chairman guidelines

SUGI Patricia, Ni Nyampinga journalists trainer at Girl Hub Rwanda (On her laptop)

SUGI Patricia, Ni Nyampinga journalists trainer at Girl Hub Rwanda (On her laptop)

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Government supports Media Self-Regulation – Min. Francis KABONEKA

Minister of Local Government, Francis Kaboneka made a statement during the 6th Annual National Dialogue on Media Development scheduled on 5th December, 2014. The event, held at Lemigo Hotel under the theme: “Two years after media reforms: The impact Assessment” and with objectives of transforming media business relations in Rwanda and recommend initiatives to sensitize and attract local and external private invest in the media industry.


 “Media Self-Regulation is now pretty much functioning, thanks to joint efforts between Government and Journalists Associations. I would like to assure the media fraternity of unwavering government support for as long as it will take to make the Media Self-Regulatory Body stand on its own,” said Honorable Minister Kaboneka.


Minister Francis KABONEKA – MINALOC

Mr.Auke Lootsma, the UNDP Country Director, said that one of the strongest pillars of Rwanda media reform package is its recognition of self-regulation as the most appropriate mechanism of promoting and nurturing high ethical standards and professionalism in the media, and he committed to continue support self-regulation.


“At the United Nations, we regard self-regulation as the cornerstone of the 2013 media reforms, and as such, as an integral part of realising a free, independent and pluralistic media in Rwanda,” he said.

“We have supported self-regulation with a view to help them build sustainable mechanisms to voluntarily and autonomously deal with professional and ethical media practices. We are committed to continuing this support as our contribution to deepening the 2013 media reforms,” he added.


Rwanda Media Commission Chairman, Mr. Fred MUVUNYI said Media Reforms brought about various benefits to journalists. Journalists have been able to regulate their profession, got easy access to information. All these created a favorable media environment and   a free, pluralistic and independent media.


“From the last 5th National Dialogue on Media Development, RMC had 5 goals which include creating an environment where journalists are free from prosecution, censorship and interference from any interest groups. We are happy to note that no journalist is in detained or imprisoned today due to his /her professional work,” Muvunyi said.

Group photo 6th National Diologue on Media Development

Group photo 6th National Diologue on Media Development

Key institutions which the media reforms targeted had a chance to present the progress they have made thus far. These included: the Rwanda Media Commission, the media self-regulatory body, the Rwanda Broadcasting Agency which was transformed from a state to public broadcaster, and the Media High Council which changed its mandate from state media regulation to the media capacity building.


Debate focused on strategies of elevating the profile of Rwanda media businesses as a contribution both to development and democracy.


At the end of the dialogue it was agreed that media reforms should also focus on reinforce proper systems of regulation that would ensure effectiveness and efficiency of the media sector.


More photos at 6th National Dialogue on Media Development – Kigali/Rwanda

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“Rwanda’s Untold Story” violated media ethics and principles – Fred MUVUNYI

“Since the production and broadcast of “Rwanda’s Untold Story”, a BBC documentary film produced by Jane CORBIN, the Rwanda Media Commission confirmed that this documentary film violated both media ethics and principles, and we call for the prosecution of those involved with its production” says MUVUNYI Fred, RMC Chairman.

Rwanda Media Commission, represented by its Chairman MUVUNYI Fred, made this statement on 19th November, 2014; while witnessing to the independent Commission of Inquiry into accusations of genocide denial and revisionism leveled against the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) led by the former Prosecutor-General Martin NGOGA.
Mr. MUVUNYI said that “Rwanda’s Untold Story” violated media ethics and journalistic principles regarding national and international journalistic principles.
“This documentary film lacks basic journalistic standards and violates many principles and laws and this is why we request that in your final recommendations, you mention the need to take a legal action since there are criminal elements.” He said.
During this public hearing organized by the Commission of Inquiry into accusation against BBC, Fred MUVUNYI detailed an analysis made by the Rwanda Media Commission on the documentary, saying the scripts in the film amount to genocide denial and revisionism, bias, defamation, false allegation, lack of social responsibility and hatred information dissemination.
“The producer of “Rwanda’s Untold Story”, Jane Corbin, interviewed sources that include Prof. Allan Stam and Dr. Christian Davenport who claimed that only 200,000 Tutsi were killed in the Genocide. This statement clearly diminishes the 1994 Genocide perpetrated against the Tutsi, where official figures indicate that more than a million Tutsi were killed during the Genocide as approved by the United Nations Security Council resolution 2150,” He confirmed.
According to Principle III of International Principles of Professional Ethics in Journalism: The journalist’s social responsibility:
“Information in journalism is understood as a social good and not as a commodity, which means that the journalist shares responsibility for the information transmitted and is thus accountable not only to those controlling the media but ultimately to the public at large, including various social interests. The journalist’s social responsibility requires that he or she will act under all circumstances in conformity with a personal ethical consciousness.”
Concluding, Mr. MUVUNYI said that regarding the International Principles of Professional Ethics in journalism, Corbin’s “Rwanda’s Untold Story” did not follow either any professional journalistic standards or code of ethics and general media laws and regulatory frameworks at both national and international level in journalism.
In the interest of objectivity and natural justice, the Rwanda Media Commission requested the commission of Inquiry on BBC issue to give a platform to BBC and Jane Corbin so they can defend themselves.
“The commission requires impartiality and credibility. This might relate primarily to the truthfulness and accuracy of the facts journalists report. Credible journalistic and political report is reliable and believable.” Fred MUVUNYI, RMC Chairman recommended.
This Commission of Inquiry has been set by the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) to investigate accusations of Genocide denial and revisionism against BBC; it is headed by the former Prosecutor-General Martin NGOGA; and since yesterday, begun hearing testimonies from different witnesses at Telecom House in Kacyiru, Kigali.

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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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