Following a decision by the Media High Council (MHC) to suspend for six-months two Kinyarwanda weeklies; Umuseso and Umuvugizi, The New Times’ Senior Reporter Edwin Musoni caught up with Rwandans of different walks of life and sought their views of the suspension. Below are the excerpts
“We face a problem of journalists who practice the profession without the required expertise which has impacted on the performance of independent media in Rwanda.
The newspapers are operating with no ethics at all, no editorial line, invade people’s privacy and have no social and political base.
The newspapers’ financial capacity is very feeble which affects the entire operation of a newspaper.
Umuseso and Umuvugizi have no financial capacity to comfortably sustain their survival and this is why the end up writing rumors based on information the pick from bars and streets.
I want to make this clear, we are facing a problem of the oral tradition in the Great Lakes region; people are used to listening not writing and reading. The contradiction here is that we end up not having analytical writers including journalists who end up abusing the whole journalism profession.”
MP Jean Baptiste Rucibigango,
president of Rwandan Socialist Party (PSR) and former journalist.
“The suspension of Umuseso and Umuvugizi was long overdue because they violated what it means to be a journalist.
They incite violence and call on the army to rise and rebel. They practically want to take back the country to the dark days.
So, a short suspension was necessary.”
Shyaka Kanuma, Publisher Focus Newspaper
“As a local business man, I was not benefiting anything from these newspapers; they were not in any way promoting local affairs.
In general terms, we expect a newspaper to cover wider range of issues including business and what happens in place like here in the garages which they were not doing.
Normally, everybody would like operating in a peaceful environment including foreign and local investors.
No person makes profits from a violent or conflicting society. We are living in a peaceful community and surely we do not need media that is going to incite violence.”
Paul Padua, Managing Director Prime Auto Care Garage
“Generally I believe the suspension is not enough. More stringent measures should be taken against these papers.
They have for long been inciting violence and divisionism among the society and the army which is a terrible thing. Rwanda already has a record of bad history that we don’t want to see happening again.”
Janvier Habakarama, casual laborer
“Critically, these newspapers were leading this country to a dangerous situation and there is no way authorities would have let them tear the country apart as they look on.
I don’t want to find myself jobless because of some violence that would come as a result of the media publications.”
Geremie Muzungu, barber
“I rarely read newspapers but I am very conversant with the issue of Umuseso and Umuvugizi.
The focus of these newspapers is clear and visible; they are just negative to everything. Rwanda doesn’t deserve such media since we have moved further from that level of conflict.
I am fine with the suspension because after six months, these newspapers should be in position to change.”
Celestin Iyamuremye, a motorcycle taxi operator
“We have been fed with rumors for quite some time and this time, something had to be done. To me, I believe they enjoyed their rights so much that they went a step further and violated them.
The media in Rwanda should truly enjoy their rights but they should not take that as an advantage to publish insults and abuses. I don’t understand how a newspaper publishes an article clearly abusing a Head of State and it does it repeatedly.”
Alphonsine Umwali, a hair stylist