RWAMAGANA - The Executive Secretary of the Media High Council (MHC), Patrice Mulama, has cautioned local leaders against withholding public information to the media.
He was early this week addressing local leaders at a meeting convened to assess the progress of development achievements.
He told local leaders that public information is a public good.
Referring to the country’s press law of 2002 in articles 10 and 11, Mulama explained that the press is free and censorship is not allowed.
“Every journalist is free to access all sources of information, and the right to freely inquire on all events of public life and to publish them,” he said.
He added, “Information is generated by public funds by public servants; it thus cannot be kept away from citizens. Besides, penalties for non compliance with the provisions of this law are proposed.”
The idea of getting information from institutions through a public relation officer will end soon, according to Mulama.
“A public relation officer serves directly the interests of an institution or individuals serving within the institution. In other words he or she can be biased and hence not reliable,” he said.
The bill among other things seeks to compel each public authority to designate a public information officer who shall be the principle contact person to deal with requests from persons seeking information.
Responding to concerns raised by the Mayor of Rwamagana district, Valens Ntezirembo, that some journalists publish biased news based on rumours- Mulama said such cases are partly due to the fact that reporters are denied access to information.