GASABO - Rwanda has received US$ 2m to develop the capacity of the local media, under the Rwanda Media Strengthening Programme (RMSP) from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), Journalists requested that a larger percent of the funds be injected into strengthening the media than training programmes as planned.
A heated consultative meeting held at the Press House yesterday which brought together journalists, Rwanda Editors Forum, the High Council of the Press and owners of media outlets deliberated on the programme funded by USAID.
The RMSP is a 2-year project that aims to build the capacity of Rwandan journalists, media outlets, and media associations which will be implemented by IREX, an American organisation in partnership with the Rwanda Initiative (RI), a project under Carleton University School of Journalism in Canada.
However, the majority of the journalists who attended yesterday’s session could not agree with the plan to use the money especially through IREX and Rwanda Initiative, arguing that it wont be effective as it would be in “transit from USA back to Canada” instead urging the donors to use the funds to develop media houses.
“As stakeholders, we think that the problem is not training as it won’t change anything, but we rather think that this money can only be effective if it is used to strengthen the capacity of the media houses, which is the root of the problem,” argued Marcel Museminali of the Business Daily newspaper.
The Journalists said that training wouldn’t be effective as they won’t find strong media houses to work for upon finishing their studies.
“The problem is more than just the money. It is more to do with the economic growth and the culture of reading, the pace we are developing and all that,” said Ignatius Kabagambe, the Director General in MINIFOR.
The same advice was given by Patrice Mulama, the Executive Secretary of the High Council of the Media who called for calm saying that the initiative should be taken as a starting point but not an overall solution to the challenges hampering the industry.
According to Terry Thieren of IREX, the 2 year project is expected to equip journalists with greater professional capacity to raise the quality of news and information available to the public.
Beginning October Journalists will receive training through Pitch Labs and Team Reporting Grants among other activities.