Foreign radios given stern warning

KIGALI - Foreign radio stations, among them the British Broadcasting Cooperation (BBC) and Voice Of America (VOA), have been strongly warned to desist from non factual reporting or else risk being banned from broadcasting in Rwanda.
Louise Mushikiwabo.
Louise Mushikiwabo.

KIGALI - Foreign radio stations, among them the British Broadcasting Cooperation (BBC) and Voice Of America (VOA), have been strongly warned to desist from non factual reporting or else risk being banned from broadcasting in Rwanda.

Information Minister, Louise Mushikiwabo Thursday singled out BBC and VOA reporters, particularly those who broadcast in Kinyarwanda who have previously been put on notice.

“If they can not respond positively to government warnings to abandon their non-factual reporting, then suspending them is inevitable,” Mushikiwabo warned.

The two stations have been accused of giving airtime to some of the genocide fugitives to spread their ideology. The concern prompted four member States of the Tripartite Plus Joint Commission (TPJC) mid last year to ban any media coverage of rebel activities in DR Congo.

The diplomatic agreement among the TPJC members, also set measures to deny rebel leaders safe havens for fundraising, movement (including visas) and areas of operation.

The said rebels include Forces for the Democratic Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), FNL PALIPEHUTU fighting the Burundian government, and two Ugandan rebel groups.

A Rwanda parliamentary report released the same year blamed the two stations for airing programmes that do not apparently support the unity and reconciliation process.

The Lower Chamber of Deputies which was dissolved this month, in July this year demanded the government to come up with a plan for countering the influence that foreign media is having locally.

Lawmakers had summoned the minister to explain why people in large parts of Rwanda were not accessing local TV and Radio signal but were able to listen to foreign stations.

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