PARLIAMENT - The Minister of Information, Louise Mushikiwabo, was Tuesday summoned to parliament to explain why some regions in the country don’t receive national radio and TV broadcasts.
The minister acknowledged that the country’s media infrastructure, especially radio, which has the biggest outreach, had problems.
This, she explained, was because of the country’s largely hilly terrain in addition to inadequate or gradual decrease in transmitters’ capacity.
“The decline in transmitters’ capacity and aging equipment hinders efforts to solve communication problems,” Mushikiwabo pointed out. She was, however, optimistic, saying that steps had been taken to solve the problem.
“Very soon, old transmitters will be replaced and the capacity of others enhanced,” the minister said.
The vice Speaker Yvonne Uwayisenga, said the problem hindered the government’s efforts to sensitize the population against the prevailing genocide ideology. This was unearthed by an ad hoc parliamentary commission investigating genocide ideology in schools.
Mushikiwabo also revealed that a study has been carried out and there was hope of using satellite technology in the near future to deal with the problems caused by terrain.
“The evaluation was well prepared and we did it in consultation with others like RITA and Radio DeutcheWelle,” she stated, adding that the problem – in general – would be solved “within six months from today.” She added that alternatives have been put in place for the September parliamentarian elections.
MPs Gideon Kayinamura, Alfred Rwasa Kayiranga and Sebera Mukamurangwa were among those who called for serious strategies to use media to reverse the prevailing genocide ideology. Most argued that the media was used to spread it and can be used to uproot it.
“We all know what RTLM ( Radio Télévision Libre des Mille Collines) did!” Kayinamura said.
“The media should play a reverse role.”
RTLM was a Rwandan radio station which broadcast from July 1993 to July 1994. It played a major role in the Rwandan genocide by openly encouraging its audience to kill Tutsis.
The legislator also challenged private and international radios like BBC, VOA and DeutcheWelle who he said have got a large audience to cooperate in fighting the ideology.
“I want to challenge them,” he said.
“They have got a corporate responsibility.”
Kayiranga stressed that radio was crucial in fighting the prevalent genocide ideology.
“This must be a priority. All the measures taken are good but efforts must be stepped up,” Kayiranga advised while urging for a clear budget to be put in place in this regard.
The house appreciated Mushikiwabo’s explanations and agreed that if well harnessed, the media would significantly contribute to overall development and eradication of the Genocide ideology in Rwanda.