The Media High Council (MHC), on Monday, July 26, released a list of media organizations that have fulfilled the necessary legal requirements to operate in Rwanda.
To those conversant with the new Media Law, the action by the MHC was to be expected; it was just a matter of time.
Article 96 of the Media Law, indeed, provides for a three-month period to all media organs that existed by the time the new legislation came into force, to have submitted to MHC all requirements necessary to operate a media entity in the country. These requirements are clearly outlined under Article 24 of the same law.
The fact that the list of compliant and, therefore, legitimate media organs has been released nearly a year after the new Media Law came into effect, should not be taken for granted.
The media council had the right to act three months after the law came out. Media owners should view the lenience as a sign of goodwill, and not a weakness.
Some media organizations that are yet to fulfill the requirements have already cried foul, although they are aware of several written notifications by the MHC. Instead of complaining, they should endevour to submit the required documents and go ahead with their business.
There’s no question that these requirements are in the best interest of the general public. The media, too, stand to benefit because they will operate in a more orderly way. It will help create an environment that is conducive for the growth of a professional media in the country.
It makes no sense to have a good law that is not enforced. As watchdogs of the society, we, the media, should lead by example.