THE Media High Council (MHC) has commended the media fraternity for their coverage during the just concluded presidential campaigns and elections.
Addressing a press conference yesterday during the release of the preliminary report on how the media covered 2010 presidential election, the council’s executive Secretary, Patrice Mulama, commended the good work that the media did.
“Overall, preliminary data shows that the media coverage of 2010 presidential campaigns and elections substantially improved both professionally and volume,” he noted.
He said that the data shows that competing candidates were challenged to substantiate the basis of their policies and programs while placing voters’ views and concerns at the centre more than ever before, saying that on this basis, MHC notes that this was a pro-people and democracy building centred media coverage of the presidential campaigns.
Mulama pointed out that the regulatory requirement of equal access and fair coverage of all the competing parties was in most part respected, especially as regards to talk shows and spots in the public media.
He also said that as statistics indicate, public media outlets and some private radio stations did a very commendable job on equal treatment of all the competing presidential candidates with notable differences in news airtime allocation.
However, Mulama noted that the media had irregular conduct which include the failure of public media outlets to respect the equal coverage requirement of the law article 6, section 13 and 14 contributed to differences in news airtime and space provided in newspapers to the four competing parties in the news telecast and broadcast on Radio Rwanda, Rwanda Television as well as stories and published in Imvaho Nshya and La Nouvelle Releve.
He said that there were some inaccurate and unfair estimation of supporters who turned up for campaigns party rallies which he said could lead to unnecessary conflict. He alleged that most media outlets, both private and public, attempted to speculate and estimate the number of people who turned up for the party rallies without using any known methodology or citing any authority on the matter.
Mulama said that using the quantitative and qualitative research methods, the MHC monitoring covered 35 media organs which included sixteen local radio stations, two international broadcasters, seventeen newspapers and magazines.
Addressing journalists, the council’s chairman of Board of Directors, Arthur Asiimwe, said that the final detailed report on how media coverage of the 2010 presidential elections and the extent journalistic principles of fairness, impartiality, balance and objectivity were respected, will be published in September.