The media fraternity has recorgised four district leaders in the Southern Province who have consistently been forthcoming with regard to providing relevant information.
This was during a one-day media-leaders forum convened to discuss the relationship between leaders and media professionals on Thursday.
The four leaders were voted by media practitioners at a function organised by Huguka, a local community radio, in partnership with the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR).
They include Francois Habitegeko, Nyaruguru District mayor; Jacques Rutsinga of Kamonyi; Leandre Karekezi of Gisagara; and Abdallah Murenzi, the Nyanza mayor.
About 20 journalists based in the Southern Province took part in the exercise.
Eugene Ndekezi, the founder of Huguka, said the initiative was aimed at encouraging local leaders to partner with the media by ensuring timely and unconditional access to information in their districts.
The meeting brought together journalists, local leaders, media scholars and representatives of special interest groups, such as women.
Participants discussed the benefits of ensuring a media-friendly environment both for the media, leaders as well as the general public.
Though the participants hailed the ‘significant steps’ made to ease access to information in the province and the country in general, they also underlined the need for improvement.
Eugene Hagabimana, the director of Radio Salus, said both media practitioners and leaders ‘should remain committed to professional principles’ in order to build trust, and improve working relations between them.
Southern Province governor Alphonse Munyantwari said building constructive partnership between media practitioners and leaders benefit the public.
He challenged participants to always put public interest ahead of personal gains.
“We should always endeavour to build relations based on trust, constructive partnership and public interest,” he said.
He said responsible and accountable leadership involves working with media ‘to reach out to the citizens and listen to their grievances.”