Media body raps French watchdog

KIGALI - The President of Rwanda Journalists Association (ARJ) Gaspard Safari, has accused Reporters Without Borders (RSF) a French media watchdog, of producing forged and defaming reports about the government’s treatment of journalists in Rwanda.
L-R: RAPPED RSF; ARJ Gaspard Safari,  Information Ministry DG Ignatius Kabagambe (File Photo)
L-R: RAPPED RSF; ARJ Gaspard Safari, Information Ministry DG Ignatius Kabagambe (File Photo)

KIGALI - The President of Rwanda Journalists Association (ARJ) Gaspard Safari, has accused Reporters Without Borders (RSF) a French media watchdog, of producing forged and defaming reports about the government’s treatment of journalists in Rwanda.

Speaking to the press in Remera, Safari said that RSF actions of compiling reports without bothering to interview anyone in Rwanda or the governing bodies, is a mockery to the ethics of professional journalism and a deliberate move to undermine Rwanda’s development process.

This follows a report released by RSF on the International Press Freedom Day which named Rwanda one of the most media repressive countries, alongside China and Zimbabwe. 

“In the last sixteen years, I have not witnessed any RSF media project or programme in Rwanda, yet they claim to foster media development in Africa. They don’t send their researchers to Rwanda to verify their opinions but rather, they sit calmly in their newsrooms and report hearsay as truth,” Safari said.

Safari further said that ARJ is in the process of writing an official complaint to the watchdog condemning the report, that they said, contains false quotes from President Paul Kagame and wrong allegations.

“RSF is a politically and business-oriented NGO which does not necessarily address the developmental process of Africa, but rather tries to exploit and manipulate African affairs to make money,” Safari added.

“The East African Journalists Association clearly states that no media NGO should work within the East African media without involving the regional bodies.

However, RSF ignored that legal aspect and went on with reporting defamations”.

Ignatius Kabagambe, the Director General of the Ministry of Information, told journalists that the intent of RSF is to report negatively about Rwanda regardless of whether they have valuable information or not.

“We disagree with their approach and methods of research which do not address the professional requirements of journalism,” Kabagambe said.

“I however appeal to Rwandans not be diverted by RSFs inconclusive claims, but rather keep on the path of development which is more important”.

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