Media is considered as the state’s fourth estate working hand in hand with the government’s other arms; the Executive, the Judiciary and the Legislature.
For the media to perform its role as the voice for the masses, it is important for practitioners of the noble profession to have access to information.
Routinely, public officials have frustrated the media’s efforts in educating, entertaining and informing the public as it plays its role of the watchdog.
This blocks the work of the media and prevents the public from knowing whether public institutions fulfil their proper functions. It also encourages secrecy and lack of accountability; this in turn leads the public to feed on unfounded rumours and suspicions.
After the State Minister for Primary and Secondary Education, Theoneste Mutsindashyaka was relieved of his duties, no government official is willing to be quoted on the matter.
Reporters have been tossed up and down by ministers, police and the judiciary while the public counts on the media to give them the why.
Foreign media has already written that the minister was dismissed on grounds of misuse of public funds.
Why inform the foreign media and leave the public to feed on speculation? This withholding of information has resulted in yellow journalism (sensationalism) instead of in-depth reporting.
The government should be commended for recognising the role played by the media in promoting its policies, but it is rather unfortunate that some government officials have frustrated this.