Journalists from various media houses recently received training in law reporting.
The areas tackled include, the legal making process, rationale of new provisions in the newly-adopted family law, as well as differentiating policies and laws, among others.
John Gara, the chairman of the Rwanda Law Reform Commission, said the media play a great role in communicating to the public on every sphere of life.
“Every aspect of life has laws that govern it, so journalists will always interface with the law. It’s for this reason that journalists should have a broad understanding of legal issues so that they can guide the public accurately,”he said.
For Lambert Dushimimana, the head of the department of legislative drafting and translation at Rwanda Law Reform Commission, the training was necessary because when laws are adopted by Parliament, it’s the journalists who inform the public in turn as they report these developments.
“Since the public relies on media for this information, it is important that journalists understand the law making process for accurate reporting,” he said.
Beata Mukeshimana, an official from Rwanda Law Reform Commission, urged Rwandans to get into the culture of reading so that they can keep tabs with the new laws published in the official gazette.
He also noted that previously, journalists have made many mistakes when reporting on legal issues, which misleads the public.
“For instance, there was a journalist who reported that Kigali city had implemented a law to punish street vendors instead of saying the city had implemented a policy that would punish street vendors. So, it’s our responsibility to make sure that journalists understand these things for accurate reportage,” he said.
Peacemaker Mbungiramihigo, the executive secretary of the Rwanda Media High Council, noted that the workshop would improve journalists’ professionalism.
“Through such trainings, the challenge of journalists having limited knowledge on legal matters will be overcome,” he said.
However, journalists called for more workshops to create awareness on specific laws, such as the new family law, land law, laws on matrimonial regimes, and mediation.
“Some of these laws impact the people directly and, therefore, understanding them eases our task when reporting on them” said Philbert Hagenimana, one of the journalists who attended the training.
The two-day training, held under the theme, ‘Journalists’ Workshop on the Law Making Process’, was organised by Rwanda Media High Council and Rwanda Law Reform Commission.