The national media regulatory body, the Media High Council (MHC), has vowed to crack down on all outlets that do not meet requirements set by the new media law.
The MHC Wednesday released a list of accredited media outlets which submitted complete requirements for re-registration as required by the law. The list is made up of 19 electronic media (TV and Radio) and 22 newspapers.
“As provided for under article 96 of the Media law n° 22/2009 of 12/08/2009, all media organs in place before the publication of this law in the Official Gazette of the Republic of Rwanda shall, within a period not exceeding three (3) months as from its publication, have declared to the Media High Council (MHC), the requirements referred to under Article 24 of the same Law,”
“It is in that framework that the Media High Council (MHC) announces on this 26th day of July 2010 the list of all media organs that meet the requirements of the law and therefore legally recognised in Rwanda. This list consists of 19 radio stations and 22 newspapers.” The official statement released by MHC reads.
According to the Executive Secretary of MHC Patrice Mulama, the council has been ‘flexible and lenient’ with media organisation extending the deadline for registration as required by the 2009 media law beyond 3 months to close to a year but media outlets still remained adamant.
“We gave them more time than the law required, we were very flexible and added another 3 months and again extended by another 3 months until we set a deadline of 16th July 2010,”
“The deadline was extended by almost a year, but surprisingly, when the list was released, those that missed panicked and did what they were supposed to have done almost a year ago. Even those that missed on the list made the effort in one day and they have been registered save for a few international media houses which have also promised to comply,” Mulama told The New Times.
Among the notable absentees include; Voice of America, Deutche Welle, Rwanda Dispatch, Business Daily, Rushyashya and Voice of Africa among others.
Mulama said that the MHC has contacted law enforcement authorities to ensure that those that don’t appear on the list don’t publish or broadcast as it is illegal and contravening the law.
“Those on the list are the ones legally practicing; those that are not will have to meet the provisions of article 24 of the media law,”
Mulama added that newspapers cannot be allowed to publish before meeting those requirements while radio stations have up to the end of this week to put their documents together.
Mulama noted that all media outlets that submitted all the requirements were registered and none was turned down or marginalised as it is reported. It has been reported that some of the media outlets missing on the list have threatened to drag the media body to court.
“I challenge anybody that feels that they have been frustrated to go to courts of law. We look at this as a rule of law, we are enforcing a law that has been put place to ensure that this profession is carried out in accordance with the law and with high standards,” Mulama said.
He added that the reason the law is being enforced is to ensure that sanity returns to journalism as a profession and that the sector is accorded the credibility it deserves rather than becoming a ‘dumping’ area for everyone.
“This is about promoting responsible freedoms, organised people who understand what credibility means. Credibility means returning sanity to the profession,” Mulama noted.
List of TV and Radio Stations
1. Radio Rwanda
2. Rwanda Television
3. Radio y’abaturage ya Huye
4. Radio y’abaturage ya Rusizi
5. Radio y’abaturage ya Rubavu
6. Radiyo y’abaturage ya Musanze
7. Radiyo y’abaturage ya Nyagatare
8. Radio 10
9. Flash FM
10. Contact FM
11. City Radio
12. Radio Isango Star
13. Radio Maria
14. Radio Izuba
15. Radio Salus
16. Amazing Grace Radio
17. Voice of Hope
18. Umucyo Community Radio
List of Newspapers
1. The New Times
2. Izuba Rirashe
3. Imvaho Nshya
4. La Nouvelle Releve
6. Rwanda News Agency/Grand Lac Hebdo
8. East African Business Week
10. Oasis Gazette
15. Le Reveil
21. Ibiyaga bigali
22. Rwanda Focus