Rwanda has poor readership culture – survey

Only 14.2 percent of Rwandans manage to read a newspaper at least once a week constitute, a survey commissioned by the Media High Council (MHC) has revealed. According to the survey, of these, only 22.9 percent purchase their own newspapers, while the rest borrow from friends, work or read over the internet.
MHC Executive Secretary Patrice Murama
MHC Executive Secretary Patrice Murama

Only 14.2 percent of Rwandans manage to read a newspaper at least once a week constitute, a survey commissioned by the Media High Council (MHC) has revealed.

According to the survey, of these, only 22.9 percent purchase their own newspapers, while the rest borrow from friends, work or read over the internet.

The survey was conducted by Incisive Africa, a consultancy firm contracted by the MHC to conduct a study with an aim of understanding media consumption and usage in Rwanda.

“Rwanda is a verbal communication society that loves to listen more than to read. Over 89% of the households listen to radios but do not read newspapers.

This is mainly due to the fact that distribution of newspapers is most often limited to the urban centres,” Ken Ndirangu, the Director of Incisive Africa explained.

He also explained that apart from the benefit of language, papers with higher readership are those with a regular cycle and run weekly.

In addition, the survey revealed that all Radio Stations in Rwanda have a vernacular broadcast except DW Radio which does not broadcast any programme in Kinyarwanda.

Due to this, people both in the rural and urban areas more easily identify better with radio than any other media outlet.

It also showed that while significant progress has been made in the Pay-TV market, Pay-TV penetration still remains very limited with only 0.4% of all the surveyed households subscribing to Pay-TV.

“Migrating from analogue to digital TV is still a challenge not just to Rwanda but all of Africa,” Patrice Mulama, the Executive Secretary of MHC said.

“We have encouraged investment in the television industry, and as per now, we have already issued licenses to 5 new TV stations that are in the process of acquiring a frequency to enable them to operate within this year.”

Mulama explained that MHC is stepping up its efforts to professionalize the media because its mandate as a media regulatory body were recently broadened as well as the services it provides to the public.

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