The Executive Secretary of the Media High Council (MHC), Patrice Mulama, has said that media coverage of the just concluded presidential campaigns by both broadcasting and print media houses was fair and successful.
He made the remarks yesterday while speaking to The New Times in a telephone interview.
“The small findings we have through our monitoring process show that media coverage increased especially towards the end of the first week although it was somehow weak at the beginning,” he said.
“The coverage was good and the population was given a voice much more than ever before.”
Mulama stressed that, through a couple of news papers and broadcasting institutions, citizens were interviewed and asked about their say on the campaign rallies, the programmes and manifestos of the candidates were duly aired.
Asked about if the four presidential aspirants given equal airtime and coverage, Mulama said that it is a prerequisite for public media outlets to provide equal coverage to all the candidates but the private media are only required to be fair.
He explained that to a very large extent, the coverage was fair although there were some shortfalls in the news items which he said they will highlight in their final report.
“The provision of airtime to the four candidates was equal according to the small findings we have from the first nine days of the campaign”.
According to Willy Rukundo, the acting Director General of ORINFOR, they had guidelines that were drawn up and shared with the MHC and even with representatives of the four candidates.
“We adhered to those instructions and regulations that was required for us to give equal and fair coverage to all the candidates throughout the campaign period; for example on Radio Rwanda, a campaign rally story was supposed not to be more than 3 minutes and for TV, it was not supposed to be longer than 2.5 minutes and we adhered to that,” he explained.
Rukundo added that during the campaigns, each candidate was given five talk shows and all of them used the time that was given to them.
“According to those regulations we feel that as a public broadcaster, we did our best and we were fair to the extent that everybody got equal opportunity to give his or her views to the public through Radio Rwanda, TVR and even through our newspapers,” he said.