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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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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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