The Media High Council (MHC) has advised Umusingi newspaper, a Kinyarwanda weekly, to review its content, which the council says are in conflict with the principles governing professional journalism, or face sanctions as stipulated in the media law.
According to Patrice Mulama, the Executive Secretary of MHC, the paper’s editor, Nelson Gatsimbazi, was told last week when he was summoned, that some of the content that his paper published in the past few months heavily mixed personal opinions with news stories.
“This way of mixing personal opinions with any other information without mentioning references as well as misappropriating it can confuse the readers and can be considered as plagiarism,” reads the MHC statement.
According to the statement, Gatsimbazi used anonymous sources but that “the people and organs referred to in the articles were not given opportunity to defend themselves on the accusations, most of them very serious.”
Although Mulama acknowledged that Gatsimbazi had accepted his errors and was willing to follow the media guidelines, after revealing that most of Umusingi’s misdeeds were fuelled by need to increase circulation, he condemned him for changing his story during his interview with BBC.
“When talking to BBC, Gatsimbazi said very different things to what he had acknowledged in the meeting with us. He diverted everything and gave a different story,” Mulama said.
“This simply highlights some of the major challenges facing the media profession in our country. Some media houses take it as an insult rather than advise when challenged on some of their controversial publications.”
However, in a statement released yesterday, Gatsimbazi insisted that during the meeting with MHC, he had explained the content of his stories, and counter-accused the media body of distorting the truth on the discussions he held with the council’s leadership.