A news article on the UNESCO official website titled “Promoting Cultural Diversity through the Media: New Possibilities for Local Content Distribution,” greatly stipulates the role in which media plays in preserving and promoting culture.
The article stated that with the tremendous development of the communication and information sectors, particular attention has been paid in recent years to the need for cultural diversity in the media as a way of preserving concepts of identity and social bonds within communities and cultures while promoting local cultural expression and local languages.
There is no doubt that today’s media environment increases choices, provides opportunities for cultural expression and dialogue, and facilitates the flow of information at the planetary level. But during the last decades, we have also witnessed a concentration of ownership and a limitation of access and content sources.
As Rwanda concluded its annual cultural week last weekend, the Ministry of Sports and Culture carried out a workshop with journalists to find out ways through which the media can be extensively used to promote and preserve Rwandan culture.
One of the issues raised was the fact that most Rwandan radio presenters butcher the Kinyarwanda language, something that was seen as a way of misleading the young generation in regards to the pronunciation and the intonation of the Kinyarwanda language. Furthermore, the use of slang is also killing and phasing out most of the Kinyarwanda vocabulary.
When this issue was raised, I felt like they were indirectly talking to me. I always laugh at my recorded interviews which are carried out in Kinyarwanda but I know with consistent practice I will learn more or better still, perfect it. I know our history ensured that some people do not know our mother language but it’s up to us to encourage the young generation to embrace their culture, thus upholding the Rwandan cultural traditions and norms.
It was during this workshop that I realised, as journalists, we are at the forefront in promoting and preserving our culture’s identity, so let us play our role as required.