The Media High Council (MHC) has lifted the suspension of two local Kinyarwanda tabloids; Umuseso and Umuvugizi, for violating the media law and inciting public disorder.
The six-month suspension expired yesterday and the two news papers are expected to be back on the streets.
According to Patrice Mulama, the Executive Secretary of MHC, the two newspapers can resume operations, but only after fulfilling all requirements prescribed by the new media law.
The law is very clear; our decision was to suspend the papers for six months.” Article 24 of the new law requires all media houses that were in existence before the law to register with the MHC and show that they are capable of doing business.
“Umuvugizi and Umuseso have not yet registered despite having been advised to do so even during the suspension period,” said Mulama adding that they will first have to fulfill that requirement.
Mulama further advised the two media houses to stick to the law and values that govern the country.
“They should know that the media is a double edged sword that can be used to destroy the country and we don’t want it to fall back into the trap it fell in during the 1994 Genocide against Tutsi,” he said.
The decision to suspend the two publications in April came after realizing that various warnings to the two media houses about their poor conduct were constantly falling on deaf ears.
The council, then, accused the two newspapers of committing many professional mistakes in total breach of media ethics.
“These two publications violated article 83 of the Media Law, especially the third and fifth clauses of the article,” Arthur Asiimwe, the MHC board chairman had said when the suspension was announced.
“Most of the articles produced by the two tabloids since January this year were full of fabrications and were provocative.”
He had added that the stories were also highly opinionated and were aimed at inciting disorder and a state of fear among the public and the armed forces.
Meanwhile, unconfirmed reports indicate that the editors of the two newspapers have since gone into a self imposed exile in Uganda, where, it is said, the Rwanda Independent Media Group, the publisher of Umuseso, have continued to publish The Newsline, their English tabloid.