The time has come to embrace media freedom

Yesterday we celebrated World Press Freedom Day, and it would not have come on a better day than the one we the Rwandan media is getting a shot in the arm. The new Media Law that is in the works has caused a few sparks to fly because the lawmakers had not taken into consideration some of the recommendations by us journalists. The major sticking point in the previous law was criminalizing libel and defamation instead of this being the reserve of the civil courts. This is now history and journalists should now count themselves lucky.

Yesterday we celebrated World Press Freedom Day, and it would not have come on a better day than the one we the Rwandan media is getting a shot in the arm.

The new Media Law that is in the works has caused a few sparks to fly because the lawmakers had not taken into consideration some of the recommendations by us journalists.

The major sticking point in the previous law was criminalizing libel and defamation instead of this being the reserve of the civil courts. This is now history and journalists should now count themselves lucky.

They will not be thrown in the coolers for what they write, but might find themselves digging deep into their pockets should they be sued by the offended party.

That is one step the government has taken in bringing on board the media fraternity who had been left out in the cold for some time; their true worth not being recognised because of a chequered past.

The time has come for journalists to grab this opportunity and show their mettle and discard the gutter press attitude that has been creeping into their newsroom; where the media dealt with personalities and not issues.

Let this World Freedom Day open windows of opportunity and turn round the media in this country. The ball is now in  our court.

Ends

 

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